.- In his column last week, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver called Clint Eastwood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’, which took top honors at Sunday’s Oscar awards a compelling story, but one that took a morally dangerous wrong turn. The Archbishop called the film “a great film about boxing and a bad film about moral reasoning.”
He noted that, “Advocates for the disabled have criticized the movie for being pro-euthanasia. Supporters have dismissed critics as right wing ‘culture cops.’”
The film has to do with a so-called “white trash girl” who desperately wants to become a boxer. Eastwood eventually takes her under his wing and in a knockout blow during a fight, she is paralyzed and lives off of a respirator.
Here, the Archbishop says, is where the film takes a wrong turn. The boxer (played by actress Hillary Swank) asks Eastwood to help her die and after an extensive struggle and counsel from a priest friend who tells him not to do it, he pulls the plug on Swank.While Archbishop Chaput points out that “it’s hard to believe that Eastwood intended this film as ‘pro-euthanasia propaganda’”, as some critics have called it, “the effect may be the same.”
Chaput notes that, “by equating murder and mercy, [Eastwood] locks his characters into hopelessness. He makes a profoundly evil act seem noble. The tragedy in this otherwise arresting movie is what it could have been — and isn’t.”