This baseball flick is a treat from the 80's. It takes sex and mixes it with the philosophies of baseball, or makes the attempt to mix the two. The film takes itself very seriously but does not hold well today. For the most part the jokes aren't funny anymore and the musical queues occur too often to suggest that this happy go lucky, feel-good film just keeps on giving, when really the moments are fairly ineffective and melodramatic. There are a lot of situations that occur without any explanation and the viewers are meant to just assume that things just happened to fall into place that way. This picture was sculpted to have "a lot of heart" as I am sure the producers said over and over again. I felt though that despite the acting, which was pretty good, there was little to this picture. I watched it feeling almost nothing at all. I liked seeing Tim Robbins as a younger guy performing and Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner as well. As the film was nearing its end I felt that I learned nothing save for how to make a "sexy" formulaic baseball film but in that formula there is definitely something inside that reads classic. The attitude that the picture evokes is definitely one that holds the spirit of the sport that I can remember somehow but do not feel is around anymore with the sport. The great American pastime is well and alive on the surface of this picture but in its core I feel there is too little enthusiasm. Or perhaps it is served in a flavor I do not prefer.
There is something here in this film that is developed and carries some weight. The emotions that are spread out from the story shine through cracks and take some effect. The acting of Casey Affleck as Bob and Rooney Mara as Ruth is genuine throughout a great portion of the film. However I did feel that as the story precedes the story unwinds in ways that are relatively predictable causing the viewer to be pulled out and away from the emotional connection the story has been building. Even as we get to know the character of Bob as a loving and determined man, even naive, we find he is not an intelligent man and that too is fine, the story does not build a dynamic strong enough as the material could. This film is not a bad one by any means as its production teams did excellent work and the editing is smooth and absorbing. The music I felt was also very beautiful and did well to set a tone that complimented the high contrast sepia tone color pallet. The story also is not a bad one though it suffers in the subplots and the under development of certain moments and characters which keeps the film from being great. Structurally moments could have been reconstructed to be more gripping. I would be interested in seeing more of what this writer director David Lowery can do.