Frankie, played by Clint Eastward, distances himself from those closest to IM to ensure that he doesn’t lose them the way he lost his daughter. Although It Is not specifically mentioned In the film why Frankie and his daughter no longer speak, it is evident that the lack of communication between them causes him heartache. With so much heartache built up inside of him, it is difficult for him to allow anyone he might be able to care about within close proximity. In the beginning of the film Frankie picks up several letters labeled “return-to- sender” when he walks through the door of his home.
The viewer sees that the teeters are addressed to his daughter, Kate. Apparently, Frankie sent many letters to Kate for numerous years, but they always came back to him completely unopened. Disappointment and sadness fill his eyes when he looks at the letters sprawled out on his floor every time he comes home. This only further worsens his feelings, but he continues to send her letters anyway. He tries his hardest to make sure she knows that he still cares for her, but it weakens him when he doesn’t receive any reply.
Kate is only mentioned a two times throughout the film, and very little is discussed bout her. One instance is when Frankie speaks with one of the Fathers at the church he attends. Twenty three years ago Frankie started to attend Mass everyday because of all the guilt that built up inside due to his relationship with his daughter. After awhile, he earns the privilege of being a priest at the Church of SST Mark. Although he becomes of high ranking within the church, he ultimately goes for guidance from Father Harvard, played by Brian Byrne.
Father Harvard knows too well that something Is troubling Frankie, and tells him that he should take some time off from the church. Father Harvard also says to him, “Frankie, I’ve seen you at Mass almost every day for 23 years. The only person who comes to church that much Is the kind who can’t forgive himself for something” (Million Dollar Baby). HIS relationship with Father Harvard slowly wavers because Harvard believes that Frankie doesn’t communicate with Kate at all. This causes distance between the two of them since Harvard thinks Frankie Lies to him when he says that he writes to his daughter.
Frankie feels even worse when Harvard doesn’t believe him because he is losing someone else who means so much to IM all because his daughter refuses to write him back. When Hilary Swanks character Maggie Fitzgerald, a white trash waitress from Missouri, shows up in Franker’s gym in Los Angles, she is persistent in making sure seen convinces Frankly to train near In Dozing. He relegates several times tonguing the film, “l don’t train girls” (Million Dollar Baby). Knowing that Maggie is a girl, he refuses to train her, but he also disputes the idea because she reminds him so much of his daughter.
Frankie sees how driven she is about having him train her, and at first that annoys him. She refuses to quit asking him to train her until she completely convinces him that she is worth taking a chance on. She shows up everyday and beats up the punching bag that is hanging in the gym. She begins to call Frankie “boss” to annoy him into giving in, even after he tells her, “I’m not your boss” (Million Dollar Baby). She asks him if she were to stop calling him boss, would he train her. After he says no, she retorts, “Then I might as well keep calling you it! The more he sees Maggie in the gym practicing her hits, the more she reminds him of Kate. He ears that if he were to actually allow himself to care about Maggie and let her into his heart, he could lose her Just like he lost Kate. He also knows that if he trains her, she is more inclined to be seriously hurt because she is a girl, and he wouldn’t forgive himself if anything were to happen to her. He notices as the days go by that Magpie’s swings are looking better than before, but he disregards it so that he doesn’t have to be vulnerable and give in to her plea.
After saying no to Maggie time and time again, Frankie realizes that she actually has potential. Not only does she have the strength, but also the heart to eventually become a good boxer. It isn’t until the night of her birthday when she breaks down in front of him that he finally told her that he would train her. However, he mentions he will only do so until they find her another manager. This allows them to both have what they want: Maggie receives training, and Frankie doesn’t have to get to emotionally attached. Seeing Maggie open up and cry makes him feel sorry for her, but does not change his feelings towards the situation.
Once they begin training, Frankie tries to make sure that he remains as distant as possible to ensure the safety of his feelings, and to make sure he doesn’t show them to her. However, even after they begin training, he allows Maggie to continue to refer to him as “boss. ” This reveals to us that he actually really cares for her, and secretly enjoys her calling him that. Eventually, Maggie asks Frankie if he has any family. Slightly thrown off by the question, he responds with, “Well, I have a daughter, Katie … We’re not exactly close” (Million Dollar Baby).
This is the second and last time we see that Frankie and his daughter do not have a secure relationship with one another. He doesn’t go into detail about their situation, but that shows us that his relationship with Kate is difficult to talk about. A little later on, while they are driving, Maggie confides in Frankie, telling him that she no longer has her father around. She tells him a story of her father and her old dog, which only leads to her telling him, “I’ve got nobody but you, Frankie” to which he replies, “Well, you’ve got me” (Million Dollar Baby).
By this time Frankie finally realizes that not everyone will hurt him, and that he can allow himself to open up to people without being so afraid. So he does so with Maggie. He builds a bond with her more powerful than one of Just a trainer and his pupil. He acts as a father figure towards her. Both Maggie and Frankie serve as fillers for the holes they have. Magpie’s need for a father is fulfilled, while Franker’s need to be close with someone similar to his daughter is fulfilled. In conclusion, Franker’s relationship with his daughter causes him to push away those around him, especially those who have the potential of making him pappy.