The Natural Reviews
Starring Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Kim Basinger, Glenn Close, Michael Madsen ...
Details the rise and fall and rise of a naturally gifted player, Roy Hobbs (played by Robert Redford). Full of heart, sentimentality and great baseball action.
Interesting plot, thought not entirely convincing or watertight. Relies more on sentimentality (though not overdone or overly sugary), emotion and character-depth than on being 100% plausible.
Solid performance in the lead role from Robert Redford. Good support from Wilford Brimley, Glenn Close (who received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination), Robert Duvall and Kim Bassinger.
Grade = 8.5/10
One of the aspects that I didn't pick up on, but heard about after watching is all the symbolism and connection to the Arthurian legends. It would be interesting to watch it again and look for all those connections to the lore, but I'm not familiar enough with those tales to fully appreciate the links. I wonder if this connection with popular legends is why the plot feels so familiar. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I never found the story all that unique, so I could easily predict what would happen from one scene to the next. The biggest negative issue I found in The Natural is the fact that the baseball doesn't feel authentic. Almost everyone who pitches a ball or swings a bat looks like an actor pretending to be a baseball player. As an avid fan of the sport I really appreciate when movies fake it right, but this movie seemed to fake it all wrong. Robert Redford doesn't have a big league style of swing or pitching and yet we're supposed to believe he's the best of the best. That being said, I still think The Natural is a feel-good sports drama that is worth watching. I won't be adding it to my collection, but I can see why many hold it in such high esteem.