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The Natural
The Natural
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movie reviews
The Natural (1984)
Directed by Barry Levinson
Written by
Bernard Malamud (novel)
Roger Towne
Phil Dusenberry
 
Starring:
Robert Redford
Robert Duvall
Glenn Close
Kim Basinger

The story of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) and the amazing resurrection of his baseball career. Once a phenom out a high school, he stops playing after being shot with a silver bullit by a woman (Barbara Hershey) whose motive is a bit ridiculous (she seems to be on a vendetta against sports heroes). She's gone from the film soon enough, which I'm sure lead more than one viewer believing her whole character was tacked on to make the story a little easier. She just doesn't work for me, and since she appeared in the first half hour it really wasn't a bad start for what would turn out to be a very good movie.

Glenn Close is amazing in this film as Iris Gaines, Roy's girlfriend when he was young and seemed to have a great baseball career in front of him. She meets with him for the first time in over a decade as he makes his comeback and becomes baseball's oldest rookie. She has a surprise for him that the viewer will realize about half way through, but dumb ol' Roy doesn't get it until the very end.

There were several things that I didn't like in this movie besides Barbara Hershey's character. Robert Duvall's acting was great (as always), but his character was a little confusing. He plays a sportswriter, but for some reason he also illustrates his column with a cartoon drawing as well. I don't know if this was common back in 1939, but I wouldn't think a writer would be expected to draw cartoons as well. It's not like these were little doodles either, each of his drawings was fantastic and often done during the game as the situation being depicted in the drawing was still going on. I just can't believe that he could make these illustrations in a matter of seconds. Also toward the end of the film he was working on a drawing when Roy hits a foul ball in the direction of his writers booth. The ball hits the window in the front of the booth and the window shatters. Why would there be a glass window on a press box booth that is right behind home plate? Wouldn't that window get broke 5-10 times every season. Speaking of things breaking 5-10 times every season, the most amazing part of Roy's comeback was that his hand-made bat, nicknamed "Wonderboy", could last nearly an entire season without breaking. Most players would go through at least a dozen bats in a season.

Overall this was a very enjoyable movie with perhaps the best ending in a film... ever. There were some pseudo-plot holes and parts that were just unbelievable, most of which was caused by a script that was a little too sloppy. The acting was some of the best I've ever seen and managed to cover up some of the other problems. I'll put this one in the "good movie that should have been better" category. Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and Hoosiers are all better movies despite acting that is below the quality seen here.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10