Everyone does a convincing job. Brad Pitt never breaks character in a role that seems to never receive his full enthusiasm. Johan Hill stands out the most because it's an unexpected good performance. It's an important movie to establish him as a committed actor. There's a new vibe in Hollywood where it seems the powers at the top are getting sick of seeing cinema turn into just something to do for a stupid good time. The trend of romantic comedies about awkward, unattractive hipsters is dying out. All those actors had better abandon ship and commit to some serious roles before it's too late. I hope to see more from Jonah in the future.
Never been really into sports-related films.
This, however, is more interesting than it looked like.
I'm not a fan of the kind of movies Brad Pitt normally makes, so I'd seen little of him, but he has matured into a hell of an actor. The true surprise is Jonah Hill. I didn't think I would ever like him in a movie after his unpleasant, even loathsome, turns in Superbad and Knocked Up. All is forgiven, all is forgotten. But this is Pitt's movie. I'm guessing the reason this one resonated as much as it did is because of what it says about being a father. Billy Beane's decision to stay in Oakland proved that none of his psychological baggage mattered to him as much as the well-being of his daughter. The decision to remain surrounded by an ongoing legacy of near-misses, was something that he could control, but it is more than that. In the scenes with his daughter, one can see a depth of pride and love untouched by his competitive drive and history of failure. The personal validation is there already in the mixtape his daughter made: "You're a loser Dad, just enjoy the show"
It's also a very nicely written/performed film, for the most part. Brad Pitt's emotional palette stood out especially to me. Many scenes were laden with emotional processing but without revealing a really clear, simplistic idea of what Billy was actually feeling. It leaves room for a whole unique and complex spate of projected emotions. I guess this is one of those matters of ymmv ambiguity; as usual, I lean towards thinking it's mature and artful if I can't pin it down exactly.