Million Dollar Baby

Question: Is it ever revealed what Frankie's secret is? Why is he estranged from his daughter and looking for forgiveness?

Chosen answer: No, the cause of conflict between Frankie and his daughter is never revealed - we only know that she returns his weekly letters, and it has been some time since they have had contact.

Question: People have said that Maggie has the right to refuse the breathing tube. But wouldn't that kill her? That would be suicide and suicide is illegal. Isn't that why Frankie needs to help her? Surely the doctors know if you cut off her breathing source that would be suicide and she doesn't have the right to do that. But I don't know very much about this issue either.

Chosen answer: Refusing medical treatment is not considered suicide. Anyway, suicide's not illegal: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/040326.html.

Myridon

Question: Are we ever told why Maggie's family cares so little about her? I can only assume it's because they think she's run off to California and left them (and returning later with lots of money doesn't help) but that's just my interpretation, unless I missed something.

Krista

Chosen answer: We might just call it an exaggerated portrayal of the "white trash" family. Part of what makes Maggie so endearing is that she struggled and made herself out of nothing, and to create this history, it is expected that her family is awful, and never expected anything out of her.

Question: Spoiler! Doesn't Maggie have the legal right to refuse any type of life support? She's completely cognitive and in possession of all her mental faculties. Why does Frankie have to sneak in and illegally participate in her assisted suicide?

Chosen answer: Yes, there was an article in last week's Sunday paper about how the medical community is up in arms over the mis-portrayal of patient's rights issues.

Myridon

Question: Was Morgan Freeman in the room when Frankie helped Maggie die?

Chosen answer: No. Only Frankie was there. He would not want to incriminate his friend (Freeman) in what is depicted in the movie as an illegal act. In reality, however, Maggie had every legal right to have her life support removed.

raywest Premium member

Question: If Maggie wanted to die, and her leg had to be amputated to save her life, why didn't she simply refuse to have the leg amputated?

Chosen answer: As we can see, Maggie stays in the hospital for a very long time. When she got the infected bed sores, she had not yet made up her mind that she wanted to die, so she allowed the amputation. It is not until weeks or months later that she decides not to live like that.

Twotall

Question: Why does Maggie's mother and sister call her Miriam?

Chosen answer: Because Maggie's name was Mary Margaret Fitzgerald, Maggie for short. Her family was calling her "Mary M", with a thick Missouri accent.

Question: Has anyone tried to really find out what era it was to have taken place in? The Apprentice thing blares obvious, almost intentional. The rest of the comments about the monitor in the hospital and stuff also seem to date the time period. The bigger items that make it seem like the 70's or early 80's are the cars and the phone that Frank has which is very 70's/80's at best. In 2004 hospitals are so far advanced in every part of the country. I believe things like monitors tied into nurses stations and alerts not being able to be turned off locally within it notifying someone can't happen. That has been the case for some time.

Jason Etter

Chosen answer: It takes place in modern times. The hospital room is in a smaller hospital or in a wing specifically for people who need assistance living, so there's no need for all of the extra equipment found in an ICU or ER hospital room. The screens are all latest-technology and can't be more than 5 years old.

Answer: The film's sets from the cars, corded telephones (not even cordless landlines), and women's dress and hair styles, point to a 70s-80s time frame, but the Hill-Rom hospital bed in Maggie's rehab hospital is probably top of the line 2004 (when the movie was filmed) with built in alarms which were the envy of this author's hospital unit, which was still primarily fitted with the electric, alarm-less, air-less, adjustable foam mattress style beds which would have been more fitting for the setting of the movie. Given the outside-of-the-hospital setting, it would seem logically set around the time of the 1976 New Jersey Karen Quinlan case, and the 1980 Texas court right to "reject medical treatment" (https://doi.org/10.1080/08998280.1995.11929931). In other words, the movie makes a point of a patient's rights regarding treatment, but it would have been much nicer if they'd dated the setting.

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