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Very rarely, you see a film that means one thing when your father is alive,
and another when he is dead. When I first saw this movie, my father was
still alive, we had not spoken for 8 years, and I thought, cute, but it
knows nothing about real life ! When I saw it again, he had been dead for
over a year, and I cried like a baby.
I'm English, so for me the baseball element was lost, but what did hit home was the awareness that we are all flawed people, and the expectations we have for our parents, are way and beyond what we achieve ourselves as we grow older.
The film is not about baseball, it is about a second chance ! An opportunity to say hiya Dad, I was didn't know then, but I'm older now and understand more about the way the world works.
In terms of the film, Cosner has never had a better role, Lancaster as Doc Graham finally showed what a great actor he really was, and James Earl Jones was simply perfect.
In short a great film, James Horner's theme music is wonderful, the visuals are fantastic, the acting is as good as you could hope to see.
For most this is a feel good movie, for me this is a reminder that it is never too late to make amends, I just miss my Father
I've just joined the club and the first film I felt the need to comment on was this, "Field of Dreams". Why? Because, firstly, it's haunted me since its release and secondly, because it had such a cathartic effect upon me. Like so many young people, I lost my dad when I was in my teens. I was fifteen. I'm fifty-nine now. The lost opportunity, the grief, cling to you like lead. When you need to discuss the paradoxes of this world with someone, you find they are gone. They will not return. Though by no means a perfect film - would we ever really want to see a perfect film? - it has heart, a centre to it that opens gateways for those bereft, even though unaware, by loss. I remember watching it the first time on the back row of a cinema with my ex-wife - long after back rows had any import - and, at the end, having to physically contain the need to sob uncontrollably. This had never happened to me before (unless you go back to Elvis riding into the hills at the end of Flaming Star when I was but a snivelling - and probably dysfunctional - early teen. The movie is a masterpiece in that it lives with you decades after its first viewing. In that you cannot analyse it, breaking it down cynically into manipulative parts. I've seen thousands of films and with each one that I feel has entered my soul I always ask myself, has it reached beyond Field of Dreams? In some respects the answer is yes, yet these are technical analyses of product. I've never had to do that with Field of Dreams. It is itself and defies scrutiny as would Gandhi defy psychoanalysis. It is, to itself, true. The cast are great. To this day, despite much, I like Kevin Costner. My sole concern is, why the hell can't I buy "Shoeless Joe", the novel upon which it was based and which I read in the late eighties? It contains much more background and is, in itself, an absorbing read. Dave Marshall
I truly believe that every once in a blue moon, a film can contain a sense
of wonder, magic, and the power of dreams. The title says it all. "Field of
Dreams" is destined to become (if it hasn't already) an American classic,
and easily one of the most engrossing films of the eighties. Throughout the
decade, we have seen a crock of films that capitalized on getting as much of
anything the characters could grasp (hence the "me decade"). This film, made
in 1989, reaffirmed what we learned from Hollywood in the forties, that
dreams can come true and people can be saved by what they choose to believe
in. And to top it all off, baseball is its subject. The great American
pastime takes on a mystical quality that is nothing but
Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a corn farmer that seems to be stranded in his life, only choosing his profession because it allowed him to get away from the idealized dreams of his father that never became reality. One day, while roaming aimlessly through his cornfield, he hears a unknown voice speak to him, saying the words that have become synonomous with the film itself, "If you build it, he will come." He is compelled by the strange message, and even convinces his wife what he heard was real and definite. He believes that the simple words mean he is to build a baseball diamond in his field, and he sets out to do just that, and he indeed does one heck of a job. After at least half a year passes, following endless strains on their patience, who should show up in the field but Shoeless Joe Jackson, the famous alleged criminal from the 1919 Black Sox Scandal who was dismissed from the game of baseball forever, until now...
After all that is said and done, the film takes a back road and curves it into this storyline brilliantly. Ray receives a second message which he deciphers as getting a famous civil rights writer, Terence Mann (played wonderfully by James Earl Jones), to come visit his new ballfield. Of course it is to be expected that Mann begrudgingly resists Ray to join him, but he too becomes propelled by the power of the field's magic, and his life (like Ray's) is changed forever. Even Burt Lancaster shows up out of thin air (literally), but that's a different part of the plot altogether that I wouldn't dare reveal in fear someone reading this review has incompetently not seen this picture.
"Field of Dreams" is one of the strangest films I've seen, and possibly one of the best. When it throws its subject matter at you, you wonder how a story so preposterous can ever work. But somehow, I was deeply moved like Costner and Jones were by the miraculous incidents put in front of me. This film is not like any fantasy film I've seen, but in a way, it is like many that I've encountered. Some of my favorite movies elicited such an amazing feeling of warmth and grace in me that I was afraid to analyse it for fear that it would ruin the awesome impact I received. "Field of Dreams" is exactly like that, an odd piece of moviemaking that overwhelms you with its wonder and positive qualities that in turn leaves no doubt it is a classic, just from the way it moves you while watching it. Therefore, I'm not going to try to pick it apart and attempt to show the world my "field" of brilliance. All I will say is this is the kind of movie Hollywood should be reeling out more often, a tiny masterpiece that lets others be refreshed in their faith and believe in their crazy little fantasies. Ray Kinsella did, and now, so do I. Rating: Four stars.
It's American. It's corny (pun intended, I'm sorry). When I stop and think
about it, it's laughable but the immutable truth is that this is naively
beautiful on almost every frontier. I have watched this film so many times
and though inside I know the ladled sentiment should be
cringeworthy-especially for a cynic such as I...it somehow never fails to
utterly absorb me.
Horner's musical score is haunting and mesmerising and adds so strongly to the whole ethereal feeling that this film exudes.
The acting is extraordinary in that they pull off corny lines without provoking me to laughter or cringing, with the possible exception of James Earl Jones speech "...the one constant is baseball...".
I even have to admit that Kostner is good (painful though it is).
You may not like or understand baseball...it doesn't matter. This is not a film about baseball. Its about relationships (particularly about father son relationships) and it tugs on every heart string.
There was a review of this film which first intrigued me enough to watch it several years ago. I cannot remember who said it but if memory serves me well his summation of Field of Dreams was this...
"Could you ever really love someone who didn't cry at this film, even just a little?"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the first time I've commented upon a film at IMDB, but after
watching Field Of Dreams for the, ohh, dozenth or so time, I just wanted to
share my ramblings and musings on this film.
I first saw this film almost a decade or so ago, I was watching it alone on video after idly looking through some tapes for something. I was caught by the amount of glowing recommendations on the cover, and although it seemed to involve lots of baseball, something that I have never been even remotely drawn to, I thought I'd give it a chance. An hour and 40 minutes later and I had dissolved into a steam of tears, that were only broken up by the smile stretched right across my face. To me, this is the closest film I've seen that I would consider being perfect. My favourite film is The Godfather, with Godfather Part Two right alongside, but no film gives me such an emotionally rewarding experience as Field Of Dreams. This truly is a film dipped in magic waters.
Why do I love this film so?
The acting right across the board is naturalistic and strong. We believe the characters when they say what they say and do what they do. The whole tone and design of the film let us believe in the choices the characters make, we want Ray to build the field and have Shoeless Joe appear, we want Terrance Mann to go Finway Park with Ray, we want Archie Graham to get to play his dream, and most of all, even though we don't expect it or see it coming (well I didn't), we want Ray to get to throw a catch with his dad.>
The design, again, is wonderful. The lighting, and cinematography make your eyes and your heart ache, the magic hour lighting, the little break in Ray's voice when he asks his dad if he wants to have a catch, the moment Doc steps over the field and into the present to save Karin, when Mark mouths "What the f..." upon first seeing Doc Graham, the score, the fact that they talk about smoking grass and trying acid in what is essentially a family film in content and marketing, when Archie Graham gets picked up on the way back home and says "Hi, I'm Archie Graham", the sheer MAGIC!!!
Anyone thinking they may even be slightly put off by thinking the film is a baseball film, don't be. It's not about baseball, the sport serves as the backdrop for a story about loss, reconciliation, parents and family, dreams and having the courage to go through them. It really is a universal and timeless film, which is a cliched saying, but this is really one of those cases where it more than justifies the comment. Simply beautiful.
Films don't get better than field of Dreams. When you got back to the
late eighties and early nineties you will find that Kevin Costner was
the biggest actor to employ at that time as he starred in lots of major
films like Dances with wolves which of course he directed, Robin Hood
Prince of Thieves, A Perfect World, JFK and Field of Dremas which I
think delivers his best performance of all those films.
Costner is Ray who one day takes a walk into his corn field only to hear a voice saying 'If you build it, he will come'. This sends him crazy as it's all he can hear. He thinks on to what the voice maybe wants him to do and let's his feeling be known to his family and the only idea he can come up with is that he should build a baseball pitch in the middle of his field. He does with the backing of his family and nothing comes of it till one night somebody in a 1920's baseball kit turns up on his field out of the blue ready to play Baseball. This happens to be the great Shoeless Joe Jackson who is now dead but has come back to play the game he was once banned from playing. The story unfolds to more odd goings on and sends Ray onto a journey of self discovery with some beautiful moments ahead. Field of dreams is not a film that gets mentioned when it comes to Costner's career but I think it holds his best and most touching performance. Anybody who likes a feel good film like It's a Wonderful Life will ultimately fall in love with this film by the end as the more it goes on the more you find out why Ray was guided to build the pitch and follow the voice which he throughout the film makes no sense of what it he is looking for.
It touches you in all the places and just makes you feel good about yourself and sends an important message out about spending as much time your family as much as you possibly can til it's to late.
Trust me, you cannot go wrong with this film.
I've always considered myself a bit of a film buff, and have always
been leery of baseball movies. Most are pretty stupid, especially when
you get to see what a bunch of weenie-arms most actors are (OK, Charlie
Sheen, Costner and Kurt Russell actually know how to play...) I did
read all 170 of the comments about this movie, because I was intrigued
to read what people who are undoubtedly from all persuasions think of
it (even many from other countries). One thing that amazed me was the
number of baseball fans who recommended Bull Durham, which I found just
average and Major League, which was slapstick at its worst. Anyhow, I
I've read a lot of user comments on this site and usually there is a widely divergent range of opinions. Not with this film, though. My rough estimate was about 160 "excellent/changed my life" to about 10 "overrated/corny/historically incorrect". That's a pretty amazing record.
That all being said, and I apologize if this has been a little long-winded, but this is a wonderful movie. I can relate especially now as I am about to move my family to New Hampshire (with few prospects) just because it will be a little closer to the ideal America I am looking for. I'd like to think this movie helped give me the courage.) Yes, this is about the only time Costner is perfectly cast. It seems he is playing himself. The others are excellent, as well.
I think this movie needs some revisionist historians to take another look. The conventional wisdom seems to be a 3 to 3.5 star film. No way, I say. It's much too magical to be anything other than 4 stars. The "It's a Wonderful Life" comparisons are apt. Perhaps it should be put in a time capsule. Another thing I thought was particularly interesting is that how many people who either don't like or understand baseball (their loss) seem to love this movie. They even go so far as to say "it's not even about baseball." What a great compliment, indeed, for a movie- that so many people get so much out of, for so many different reasons. Of course, if you do love baseball for the sheer beauty and grace of it, along with the undeniable impact/fabric it has had on America, then this movie does border on the religious experience (which many have alluded to).
All in all, I have greatly enjoyed all of your comments, (especially those from our UK, Aussie, and Kiwi friends), and the reason I have stopped watching Field of Dreams (in reference to my summary's title), is because I'm tired of how my wife laughs at me for always crying in the end...and by the way, I get along just fine with my Dad!!
It is truly a rare movie indeed to which I would give a 10. But this is
one of my all-time favorites.
This is a movie about themes like reconciliation, destiny, redemption, idealism, disappointment, the difficulty of relationships, especially that of the father-son relationship.
In this movie, the baseball field is where all such issues achieve resolution.
This is such a gentle movie, full of such sincerity, and moving emotions. Although it is by no means an upbeat movie, it is nevertheless ultimately a very optimistic and positive movie.
As some reviewers have noticed, some suspension of disbelief is required.
A movie with no guns, violence, gangsters, no gratuitous sex, just down-to-earth good people, and a good message. What a gem.
P.S. Interestingly, there really was a Moonlight Graham. See his baseball career stats here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/grahamo01.shtml. Some of the details of his life are altered in the movie; cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonlight_Graham.
A classic combination of sport, family, fantasy, faith, reconciliation, and redemption, all set in the heartland combine to put this film at #1 on the all-time list for me. I know, I know,...what about Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Godfather? You're telling us that Field of Dreams ranks higher? I saw Field of Dreams on Father's Day following its release, having no clue how the issue of father-son relationships would be addressed in the film. By the time the closing credits were rolling, this film had left a lasting impression because I could identify with so many of the themes in the film. The acting is fine/adequate, and as a whole this film may not compare to the "greats" I've previously mentioned. But it delivered in a powerful way with things I can relate to and treasure. I'd appreciate any comments and strongly recommend it to those who haven't seen it. Thank you.
I have now seen this film around 12 times in two months and i can safely say this is one of my all time favourite pictures!It has everything1 excellent acting from Costner,Earl Jones and the great late Burt Lancaster in one of his last film roles which is definably one of his finest.Ray Liotta also was amazing for one of his first roles as Shoeless Joe Jackson which i felt could not of gone to anyone else but Liotta.The storyline is dazzling as well as the acting and the dialogue.This movie is an incredible and a times comical experience.Every actor in this film should feel more than proud they were in this amazing feel good movie which has never deserved a bad review. This for me is definitely a 10 out of 10 picture which i might watch again tonight actually even though i only saw it yesterday.
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