The Natural Reviews
Saw it again! Probably one of the best baseball movies ever made. Robert Redford nail his role as Roy Hobbs, amazing talent! Wicked story! Everything about this movie appears authentic. From the time period, to the baseball scenes. These guys really look like a baseball team. A touching story, without being hokey. You get the feeling you are watching something mystical and magical along with all the characters in the movie, and it is played with just the right note. Thrilling and inspiring. A well-made, well-acted film. Loved the end, one of the best endings ever!
An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.
If you're a sports fan, you'll appreciate it's nod to the good old days of baseball, and it's allegorical nod to various baseball scandals, as well as honoring real sports figures like Ted Williams. If you're not a baseball fan, there's still a lot to like here: The considerable onscreen presence of Redford as Roy Hobbs overcomes any quibbles, in my book, about his 'baseball playing skills'. It's a fable, guys, it's not Bull Durham.
The thread of mythology and superstition is a strong theme here. Pick a favorite herculean story, with its flawed hero, and this is it. It has so many nice touches, and so many great little 'french scenes' between characters. Pops and Roy; Roy and Memo; Roy and Iris, etc. The supporting cast is very strong all around, even if they only have small parts.
There are so many great lines, it would be hard to capture them all here, so I'll leave it to you to pick your favorites, but briefly...
"I believe people have two lives...the life they learn with and the life they live after that"
Pops: "Batting practice tomorrow...be there!"
Hobbs: "I have been, every day."
The acting is top notch all around, not just from Redford, but from secondary characters like Duvall, Brimley, Farnsworth and Close. This is loosely based on a true baseball story, and that makes it all the more compelling.
I have to mention the score as well, as it features one of most iconic and well known themes in movie history. In addition to its place as a great baseball movie, its also a great period piece, taking its audience back to the sports golden age. The story is inspiring and a commentary on the human spirit. Even if you're not a baseball fan, this is a terrific movie, and one of Redford's greatest roles.