By DANIEL REITER
Sometimes it can be hard to get too emotional for a movie and while I definitely feel the power and intensity of certain movies, only a few tend to make me misty eyed. One I can remember vividly was “Brian’s Song” where you see how strong the bond between two friends can be. “The Natural,” however, surprised me with how emotional I became by the end.
While I knew this was more of a serious movie, it caught me by surprise how quickly this became apparent. After Roy struck out Babe Ruth (Oh I mean “The Whammer”…) and is on top of the world, the biggest shock in the whole movie takes place: he gets shot.
We then jump ahead to an older Roy Hobbs as he begins to become a star. I have to say that Robert Redford fits the character perfectly as he strives to be that classic hero. Sure he has his problems but Hobbs always seems to do the right thing.
As his numbers, and the team’s, rises and falls, the viewer begins to see the drama of the movie, as unsurprisingly gambling becomes the biggest villain. While Roy does his best to fight it, he is still pulled in to this dark side and it costs him plenty.
But the saving grace for our hero is Iris Gaines who, when Roy is slumping massively, shows up and helps keep him centered throughout the rest of the film. I thought Glenn Close was perfect in this role as she played the sweet yet inspiring foil for the hero.
After finding out that he may die if he keeps playing baseball, the protagonist makes the predictable choice of playing and defying what The Judge and Gus Sands want the outcome to be.
As he comes up to the plate as the winning run and a chance to seize the pennant, you become drawn into the suspenseful climax of the film. After breaking “Wonderboy,” which was sad in its own right, Roy Hobbs nails the winning home run into the lights. As the bulbs throughout the park explode, he trots along the bases and truly immortalizes this film.
While it may have been cheesy and predictable (I mean you knew Roy was the father of Iris’ son), “The Natural” tugs at your heartstrings with a character that you would always root for. With the perfect music in the background, Roy Hobbs ‘ journey makes this my new favorite baseball movie.
+ Contact Daniel Reiter at firstname.lastname@example.org