Thursday, April 6, 2017

Field of Dreams - Movie Review

Based on W.P. Kinsella's book 'Shoeless Joe' this one is as unusual a movie as they can get. It  has sports, fantasy, dreams, family, forgiveness, philosophy and ghosts merging seamlessly. How does Kinsella achieve the rare feat? Simply by making a young father/farmer, Ray Kinsella, who has bridges to mend with his dead father hear voices in his corn field.

'If you build it, he will come' says the voice in the corn field, persistently. Then the young farmer sees the vision of a baseball diamond on his corn field and realises that is what he must build. Against all common sense he invests all his money into building a baseball field at the cost of his crop. On comes the ghost of 'Shoeless Joe' - a baseball player of incredible skill who played a few decades ago and who was now dead and whom the farmer's father admired. Only the family can see Shoeless Joe. Joe brings his pals from the Chicago Red Sox to practice. Another incident at a PTA meeting and a dream about a famous author convinces Kinsella to take a trip to New York even as his farm is under threat of being taken over. The author's book was what inspired young Kinsella to rebel against his father.

Nothing seemingly comes out of the trip except that he and the author get the next lead - a news flash in the baseball game about a player 'Moonlight Graham' who played one match. Now these two head off to meet Dr. Graham, who they discover has been dead for twenty years. However Ray Kinsella goes back in time and meets Dr. Graham who says he is ok with a failed career in baseball because he managed to help so many people as a  doctor. He refuses Ray's offer to play with his ghost team and revive his old dream of being a successful baseball player.

Now the voices are back and they say 'Ease his pain'. Whose pain? What pain? Ray Kinsella and the old author now head back to the farm which is on the verge of being taken over - and on the way pick up a young Dr. Graham who is heading out to try his hand at professional baseball. In an accident where Rays daughter gets badly hurt, young Graham steps over the line, becomes old Dr. Graham, saves her and then heads out with Shoeless Hoe and the others into the fields. But not before all the greats acknowledge Graham as someone who had the goods to be a great baseball player as well. As everyone leaves, and most of their dreams are fulfilled it appears, there is one player left. Ray realises that its his father Kinsella senior in his youth and in his baseball clothes. Ray goes and plays baseball with his father, thereby easing the pain he caused his father all those years ago when he refused to play with him. As this last piece falls into place, Ray's daughters prediction that 'people will come to watch baseball' at their ground turns true and we see hundreds of cars lining up to see the baseball ground in the corn fields. Obviously Ray will be a rich man.

A more incredible story I have not heard. But it all seems perfectly possible. And even better, it kept us wanting to watch because we had no clue what was going to happen next. So, you can write stories like this too huh. Kevin Costner never looked better. 

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