L’esplorazione del tema in “Million Dollar Baby” - Exploring the theme in “Million Dollar Baby”
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The essay analyzes the film Million Dollar Baby (USA 2004), directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Paul Haggis, focusing on the screenplay and on the way it adapts a short story by F.X. Toole. The contribution concentrates on the narrative rhetoric of the film – the means that the script uses in order to engage the audience and to guide the viewers to form an opinion on the events of the story. Haggis adds two secondary storylines to the original plot, dramatizes the omniscient narrator, raises the stakes for the protagonist, whose backstory and psychological traits are also more complex than in the original text. Most of all, the film aims directly at exploring the theme of paternity. In particular, the article points out how the screenplay subtly argues in favor of euthanasia. In comparison with the literary original, the solutions aimed at stirring up pity and admiration for the main character are accentuated. Besides, it is possible to identify in the film the same omissions that in the novel make it difficult for the reader to consider different motivations than those which are at the base of the main character’s choice. In the light of these considerations, the essay summarizes the bioethical debate created by the film. It concludes by stressing the fact that the screenplay, despite its great quality, violates the pact of trustfulness between the author and the audience. In fact, the script maintains the original main storyline without considering that this latter was set in a different period, when the laws about the suspension of medical treatment were different. In this way, the film succeeds in arousing the audience’s contrariety to therapeutic paternalism in order to strengthen the value of autonomous decision, which appears to be the only important value in the eyes of the viewers.
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