Normally, you have to insult Hilary Duff's acting skills to elicit the volume of mail we received after Josh Bell's less-than-glowing review of Million Dollar Baby (January 27). Here's a representative selection:
Good review; thank God somebody else saw through all the cliché and melodrama—not a terrible flick, but going in with such rave reviews, I expected a much more honest and gritty film. Freeman's voice-overs were killing me, stating the obvious or little bits of wisdom. Take Mystic River any day. Not sure why everyone is so excited about this movie. Thanks for writing an honest review.
I just visited Rottentomatoes.com to see if there were any critics who thought, as I do, that Million Dollar Baby is not the masterpiece most people are making it out to be. Like you, I was excited about seeing the movie and hopeful that it would be great. Unfortunately, I agree, it's an average flick at best, and I was seriously disappointed. Eastwood has directed better, Morgan Freeman has acted better and Hillary Swank was hardly stunning. Maybe its buzz comes down to timing and politics. Maybe it's because it's a movie that is more fun to talk about after seeing it than to watch in the theater. In any case, I enjoyed your review and am happy that I don't stand alone in my reaction. Your review matched my sentiments exactly, especially the part about the clumsy grafting of narratives. Thanks for doing what a critic is supposed to do—give an honest review of the movie, not fall in line with the masses. I'll look for your reviews in the future.
Thanks for writing that review. Me and my friends saw the movie last night and it was the best Lifetime drama I've seen. The first part was enjoyable, but after the broken neck it became dreadful. And most of the characters were cartoons. Her family, the skinny boxer who couldn't figure out how ice got in the bottle. How did he find his way to the gym every day? And of course, make the "evil boxer" [black] so we can hate her for breaking that poor white girl's neck. I don't think it was racist, but it did seem like the great-white-hope kind of thing. Hey, how about just having her get injured in the ring from just getting hit? Maybe then there could be some sort of comment on what this "sport" is really about.
And it seemed to me that no one in the world liked Hillary's character, except Frankie. She seemed a likable sort. And that whole "boss" thing was like nails on a chalkboard. I wasn't a big fan of Mystic River. I saw the same things here. But in fairness to Clint, A Perfect World is one of my favorite movies. I love that film. But I'm glad at least a few people like yourself aren't afraid to take a stance and give a true review.
I just saw Million Dollar Baby and wanted to let you know that you are an idiot.
This letter is in response to K.K.'s January 27 letter regarding Stacy Willis' cover piece on domestic violence, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (January 20). After the first paragraph, K.K. seemed to take a turn for the worse. I found it appalling that K.K. would have the audacity to label a woman who is a victim of domestic violence a "volunteer" because she has been abused more than once. This is a great example of the mentality of so many people in our society today regarding this important issue—people who continue to blame the victims, not the abusers.
Included in this mentality is the comment regarding all of the social services that are available to these women that are not available to men. With 85 percent of the abusers being male, I don't think victim services are in order; anti-violence education would be more appropriate. As far as the women learning strategies of self-defense, assertiveness training and home monitoring, as K.K. suggests, this is real life, not a Jennifer Lopez movie. These women are actually trying to survive brutal attacks and threats from their abuser, while many are also protecting their children from harm. I recommend that you read a book about the women that are imprisoned for killing their abusers, When Battered Women Kill, by Angela Browne (1987), which would give you some insight into the hell that they have been through. For your information, K.K., some of the reasons that the women do not leave their abusers include threats regarding their children, their relatives' lives (not to mention their own), isolation, lack of resources and shelters filled to capacity.
Women wouldn't need self-defense, social service programs and the assistance of the legal system if the abusers didn't feel they had the right to abuse the women in the first place. Isn't it time we held the abusers accountable for their actions?