The Natural Reviews

  • Jul 15, 2019

    Knocks the cover off the ball. As high as the ratings are for this film, I still feel it's underrated. Another movie that has that rare magic of combining story and image and music almost perfectly. It lost to 'The Killing Fields' for cinematography, but shouldn't have (okay, maybe a tie). If you care about cinematography it's a must see. If you care about baseball, it's a must see. If you care about musical score, it's a must see.

    Knocks the cover off the ball. As high as the ratings are for this film, I still feel it's underrated. Another movie that has that rare magic of combining story and image and music almost perfectly. It lost to 'The Killing Fields' for cinematography, but shouldn't have (okay, maybe a tie). If you care about cinematography it's a must see. If you care about baseball, it's a must see. If you care about musical score, it's a must see.

  • Jul 05, 2019

    Baseball is given all its glory in The Natural! Barry Levinson's baseball drama The Natural (1984) is one of the greatest sports films ever made and a testament to why baseball players and fans alike have a love of the game. Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural is adapted here with great care as to portray the reverence for the sport of baseball and create a display of good sportsmanship with a character that is truly playing the game not for money or glory, but because he genuinely loves the sport. The Natural's finale is some of the finest direction, cinematography, and lighting I have ever seen in a movie with dazzling sparks and a sporting fire. You will never forget that moment and the feeling it will give you. Levinson's direction is fantastic and endlessly creative. Levinson masters and manipulates the visual technique of displaying silhouettes and shadows in several keys scenes. The darkness envelops characters shrouded in mystery, intrigue, love, or greed. Caleb Deschanel's cinematography is shot with a noir aesthetic for scenes for an ambient gravitas. Deschanel's style is striking, especially on the bases, up close at the batter's face, or down a street at night. Levinson and Deschanel create a magical nostalgic sentiment for The Natural to feel like you are watching a classic baseball game being played by a legendary figure. Furthermore, Levinson's use of lighting in The Natural is haunting. The natural moonlight in the barn towards the beginning between Robert Redford and Glenn Close is stunning. The moody lamplight in the judge's office is unnerving and atmospheric. The artificial lighting during the baseball stadium segments is bright and inspiring like the game. Levinson pulls off every lighting trick in the book for The Natural with mesmerizing results. The final shower of sparks from the busted stadium lights is genuinely breathtaking to this day. Next, I should mention the rising and triumphant score from Randy Newman. Newman composes greatness and inspiration note by note for The Natural. Much of the music harkens back to an older America to fit the film's time period, but his heavenly chimes ring as timeless reminders of the beauty and power of a finely tuned master. Newman's score for The Natural is as good as his masterpiece musical composition for Awakenings. Randy Newman simply delivered with his soaring symphony for The Natural! Obviously, you should watch The Natural for Robert Redford's lead role as the skillful baseball player Roy Hobbs. His performance is a combination of showmanship during the baseball playing segments and Redford's subtle prowess as a nuanced dramatic lead. Redford makes you like Roy Hobbs as his easy going personality, serious romanticism, and cool persona fly across the screen to you like one of Hobb's blistering home runs. Redford's best moments in The Natural are perhaps thanks to his chemistry with a young Glenn Close as his love interest Iris Gaines. Redford displays a sincere compassion and earnest adoration for Close. Similarly, Glenn Close is a supportive figure, instead of a foil or basic love interest. She drives and inspires Hobbs to greatness. I was really impressed when they both speak volumes with a few words in the diner sequence with mostly longing stares. In addition to Robert Redford and Glenn Close, The Natural's superb supporting cast captures a time period with conviction. Robert Duvall kills it as an opportunistic baseball reporter named Max Mercy. Kim Basinger is a sultry and alluring femme fatale with a series of twists and turns attached to her. Wilford Brimley is hilarious as the gruff baseball manager Pop Fisher. Richard Farnsworth is likable and endearing as the coach Red Blow. Barbara Hershey is mysterious and intoxicating in her shocking role as Harriet Bird. Michael Madsen appears as the overly confident Bartholomew "Bump" Bailey. Robert Prosky is menacing from behind the shadows as The Judge. Joe Don Baker is sleazy and massive as the cocky character dubbed "The Whammer." Lastly, you will not forget the under-handed gambler and glass-eyed bookie Gus Sands as portrayed by Darren McGavin. In short, The Natural is a must see sports drama centered around the virtues of a great baseball player. Robert Redford sells this one alone. Barry Levinson's direction, Caleb Deschanel's cinematography, Randy Newman's score, and the plethora of wonderful actors and actresses within The Natural are all bonuses.

    Baseball is given all its glory in The Natural! Barry Levinson's baseball drama The Natural (1984) is one of the greatest sports films ever made and a testament to why baseball players and fans alike have a love of the game. Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural is adapted here with great care as to portray the reverence for the sport of baseball and create a display of good sportsmanship with a character that is truly playing the game not for money or glory, but because he genuinely loves the sport. The Natural's finale is some of the finest direction, cinematography, and lighting I have ever seen in a movie with dazzling sparks and a sporting fire. You will never forget that moment and the feeling it will give you. Levinson's direction is fantastic and endlessly creative. Levinson masters and manipulates the visual technique of displaying silhouettes and shadows in several keys scenes. The darkness envelops characters shrouded in mystery, intrigue, love, or greed. Caleb Deschanel's cinematography is shot with a noir aesthetic for scenes for an ambient gravitas. Deschanel's style is striking, especially on the bases, up close at the batter's face, or down a street at night. Levinson and Deschanel create a magical nostalgic sentiment for The Natural to feel like you are watching a classic baseball game being played by a legendary figure. Furthermore, Levinson's use of lighting in The Natural is haunting. The natural moonlight in the barn towards the beginning between Robert Redford and Glenn Close is stunning. The moody lamplight in the judge's office is unnerving and atmospheric. The artificial lighting during the baseball stadium segments is bright and inspiring like the game. Levinson pulls off every lighting trick in the book for The Natural with mesmerizing results. The final shower of sparks from the busted stadium lights is genuinely breathtaking to this day. Next, I should mention the rising and triumphant score from Randy Newman. Newman composes greatness and inspiration note by note for The Natural. Much of the music harkens back to an older America to fit the film's time period, but his heavenly chimes ring as timeless reminders of the beauty and power of a finely tuned master. Newman's score for The Natural is as good as his masterpiece musical composition for Awakenings. Randy Newman simply delivered with his soaring symphony for The Natural! Obviously, you should watch The Natural for Robert Redford's lead role as the skillful baseball player Roy Hobbs. His performance is a combination of showmanship during the baseball playing segments and Redford's subtle prowess as a nuanced dramatic lead. Redford makes you like Roy Hobbs as his easy going personality, serious romanticism, and cool persona fly across the screen to you like one of Hobb's blistering home runs. Redford's best moments in The Natural are perhaps thanks to his chemistry with a young Glenn Close as his love interest Iris Gaines. Redford displays a sincere compassion and earnest adoration for Close. Similarly, Glenn Close is a supportive figure, instead of a foil or basic love interest. She drives and inspires Hobbs to greatness. I was really impressed when they both speak volumes with a few words in the diner sequence with mostly longing stares. In addition to Robert Redford and Glenn Close, The Natural's superb supporting cast captures a time period with conviction. Robert Duvall kills it as an opportunistic baseball reporter named Max Mercy. Kim Basinger is a sultry and alluring femme fatale with a series of twists and turns attached to her. Wilford Brimley is hilarious as the gruff baseball manager Pop Fisher. Richard Farnsworth is likable and endearing as the coach Red Blow. Barbara Hershey is mysterious and intoxicating in her shocking role as Harriet Bird. Michael Madsen appears as the overly confident Bartholomew "Bump" Bailey. Robert Prosky is menacing from behind the shadows as The Judge. Joe Don Baker is sleazy and massive as the cocky character dubbed "The Whammer." Lastly, you will not forget the under-handed gambler and glass-eyed bookie Gus Sands as portrayed by Darren McGavin. In short, The Natural is a must see sports drama centered around the virtues of a great baseball player. Robert Redford sells this one alone. Barry Levinson's direction, Caleb Deschanel's cinematography, Randy Newman's score, and the plethora of wonderful actors and actresses within The Natural are all bonuses.

  • Jun 30, 2019

    It's not really a film about baseball- that is just the backdrop. It could have been bowling. What it is is a story about life, about life not turning out the way you dreamed, about not living up to your full potential, but persevering and triumphing in the end. That final triumph might be less than what you envisioned in your youth, but it can still be good and be enough, especially when you refocus on what is truly important. This story is set against a backdrop of old world Americana and fantastical nostalgia. If you allow yourself to enjoy the fantasy and the atmosphere of the film, while also pondering the bittersweet lessons of life, it is a real gem.

    It's not really a film about baseball- that is just the backdrop. It could have been bowling. What it is is a story about life, about life not turning out the way you dreamed, about not living up to your full potential, but persevering and triumphing in the end. That final triumph might be less than what you envisioned in your youth, but it can still be good and be enough, especially when you refocus on what is truly important. This story is set against a backdrop of old world Americana and fantastical nostalgia. If you allow yourself to enjoy the fantasy and the atmosphere of the film, while also pondering the bittersweet lessons of life, it is a real gem.

  • Jun 28, 2019

    This movie was terrible, from casting Glen Close as a desireable woman, to the explosion of fire works that resulted from a broken light bulb

    This movie was terrible, from casting Glen Close as a desireable woman, to the explosion of fire works that resulted from a broken light bulb

  • Jun 17, 2019

    amazing storytelling and great content

    amazing storytelling and great content

  • Apr 18, 2019

    What's the big deal?

    What's the big deal?

  • Mar 20, 2019

    Character - 1. Game - 0. The Natural Levinson's game is played on familiar ground and cliched rules, but above all, it is fair. And that is his self-created window where he gets in from. This unusual journey of a young athlete- or so it seems when it starts up- is authentic and practical. The double edge sword where his method is productive and necessary but not cinematic makes you go back and forth on where you lie in the final scorecard. All the stages and characters that Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) encounters is executed brilliantly by the director Barry Levinson. But mind you, this journey is not gripping all the time. Roger and Phil; the screenwriters, who adapted it from Bernard's novel could have been edited better and made it more thrilling for the viewers. There are very few such moments in the game where we get what we have been craving for. "I am here to play the game" claims Redford and it is a soothing medicine that makes up for all the sweat and blood we go through, which even his first swing or throw could never replace. On terms of performance, Redford is supported magnanimously by Glenn Close whose both character and performance is a sight to behold. This never flinching attitude of Redford can only be shattered by Close's generous watery eyes. Other supporting cast like Robert Duvall and Wilford Brimley are definitely on track although Kim Basinger seems awfully distracted in her cloak of being an enchantress. The film fumbles right before its last act that turns out to be the major disappointment of all, it slows down more than it already was. The Natural is the apt description of the film, what's good about it comes from within, for it clearly isn't going to work harder, a typical sport genre feature.

    Character - 1. Game - 0. The Natural Levinson's game is played on familiar ground and cliched rules, but above all, it is fair. And that is his self-created window where he gets in from. This unusual journey of a young athlete- or so it seems when it starts up- is authentic and practical. The double edge sword where his method is productive and necessary but not cinematic makes you go back and forth on where you lie in the final scorecard. All the stages and characters that Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) encounters is executed brilliantly by the director Barry Levinson. But mind you, this journey is not gripping all the time. Roger and Phil; the screenwriters, who adapted it from Bernard's novel could have been edited better and made it more thrilling for the viewers. There are very few such moments in the game where we get what we have been craving for. "I am here to play the game" claims Redford and it is a soothing medicine that makes up for all the sweat and blood we go through, which even his first swing or throw could never replace. On terms of performance, Redford is supported magnanimously by Glenn Close whose both character and performance is a sight to behold. This never flinching attitude of Redford can only be shattered by Close's generous watery eyes. Other supporting cast like Robert Duvall and Wilford Brimley are definitely on track although Kim Basinger seems awfully distracted in her cloak of being an enchantress. The film fumbles right before its last act that turns out to be the major disappointment of all, it slows down more than it already was. The Natural is the apt description of the film, what's good about it comes from within, for it clearly isn't going to work harder, a typical sport genre feature.

  • Feb 02, 2019

    The best inspiring sports movie ever made! With the best movie character ever portrayed: Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs! And the best movie score ever composed!

    The best inspiring sports movie ever made! With the best movie character ever portrayed: Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs! And the best movie score ever composed!

  • Jan 30, 2019

    Great baseball movie. Not Redford's best as an actor.

    Great baseball movie. Not Redford's best as an actor.

  • Jan 16, 2019

    I never watched this back in the day and, watching now, it certainly has a dated sort of style â" you can tell somehow that itâ(TM)s the â~80s even though the events depicted take place in the 1930s. Itâ(TM)s the kind of film where you know that good is going to triumph over evil, that Robert Redford is definitely going to hit the home run that saves the day â" and he does. Itâ(TM)s a picture that pretends to evoke suspense but always goes for the gratifying outcome; by the end, viewers can have no doubt that everything will work out. In that way, itâ(TM)s a fantasy film and there are suggestions that it has loose connections to the legend of King Arthur (the team is called the Knights) as well as Homerâ(TM)s Odyssey (with Darren McGavinâ(TM)s one-eyed bookie as the Cyclops and Robert Prosky as Hades), although the film isnâ(TM)t really overt about this. Moreover, director Barry Levinson decided to change the downbeat ending of Bernard Malamudâ(TM)s novel (which I havenâ(TM)t read but may have on my shelf) to keep Redfordâ(TM)s Roy Hobbs an unadulterated hero at the end of the day. Or perhaps he is adulterated â" we never really find out what happened in the 16 years when he didnâ(TM)t play baseball (he is a star prospect in 1923 but suffers a freak event, courtesy of Barbara Hershey) and claims only to have made mistakes. The script keeps him as a mystery and Redford plays him opaquely (and rather flatly). Even in his relationships with Kim Basinger (evil) and Glenn Close (good) he remains distant and impenetrable (although we assume he eventually connects with the latter). Of course, this film is probably most well loved by baseball fans and a deeper knowledge of the sport and its fabled players might lead to greater enjoyment (at the allusions to real events). As it stands, it is a bit corny, a bit old-fashioned, but you can count on an uplifting heart-warming finale.

    I never watched this back in the day and, watching now, it certainly has a dated sort of style â" you can tell somehow that itâ(TM)s the â~80s even though the events depicted take place in the 1930s. Itâ(TM)s the kind of film where you know that good is going to triumph over evil, that Robert Redford is definitely going to hit the home run that saves the day â" and he does. Itâ(TM)s a picture that pretends to evoke suspense but always goes for the gratifying outcome; by the end, viewers can have no doubt that everything will work out. In that way, itâ(TM)s a fantasy film and there are suggestions that it has loose connections to the legend of King Arthur (the team is called the Knights) as well as Homerâ(TM)s Odyssey (with Darren McGavinâ(TM)s one-eyed bookie as the Cyclops and Robert Prosky as Hades), although the film isnâ(TM)t really overt about this. Moreover, director Barry Levinson decided to change the downbeat ending of Bernard Malamudâ(TM)s novel (which I havenâ(TM)t read but may have on my shelf) to keep Redfordâ(TM)s Roy Hobbs an unadulterated hero at the end of the day. Or perhaps he is adulterated â" we never really find out what happened in the 16 years when he didnâ(TM)t play baseball (he is a star prospect in 1923 but suffers a freak event, courtesy of Barbara Hershey) and claims only to have made mistakes. The script keeps him as a mystery and Redford plays him opaquely (and rather flatly). Even in his relationships with Kim Basinger (evil) and Glenn Close (good) he remains distant and impenetrable (although we assume he eventually connects with the latter). Of course, this film is probably most well loved by baseball fans and a deeper knowledge of the sport and its fabled players might lead to greater enjoyment (at the allusions to real events). As it stands, it is a bit corny, a bit old-fashioned, but you can count on an uplifting heart-warming finale.