Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules his life: above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His only friend is Scrap (Morgan Freeman), an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie's gym and knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has attended Mass almost every day for the past 23 years, seeking the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him.
Then Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) walks into his gym.
Maggie's never had much, but there is one thing she does have that very few people in this world ever do: she knows what she wants and she's willing to do whatever it takes to get it. In a life of constant struggle, Maggie's gotten herself this far on raw talent, unshakable focus and a tremendous force of will. But more than anything, what she wants is for someone to believe in her.
The last thing Frankie needs is that kind of responsibility - let alone that kind of risk. He tells Maggie the blunt hard truth: she's too old and he doesn't train girls. But 'no' has little meaning when you have no other choice. Unwilling or unable to give up on her life's ambition, Maggie wears herself to the bone at the gym every day, encouraged only by Scrap. Finally won over by Maggie's sheer determination, Frankie begrudgingly agrees to take her on.
In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of their pasts, and find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. What they don't know is that soon they will both face a battle that's going to demand more heart and courage than any they've ever known.
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