During the first two acts the movie is very good, but nothing really remarkable in terms of originality; one of the better sports-related movies with the usual ingredients. Then comes the third act, with a very tragic event that takes the movie in a new and unexpected direction. At that point, it becomes clear that this is not merely a very good movie based on an old and familiar formula; Million Dollar Baby transcends that and goes deep into issues far removed from the corners of the boxing ring, making it a very powerful experience.
The movie covers a lot of ground without ever feeling rushed, and the acting and directing are top-notch. Combined with its other qualities, Million Dollar Baby is a movie I highly recommend.