By 2008, more than 25 percent of major league baseball players were born in Latin America. At 19, Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a serious kid from the Dominican Republic, signs with Kansas City. He flies to Phoenix for tryouts and is sent to the Class A team "The Swing" in the fictional town of Bridgetown, Iowa, where he lives with a farm family. Thus begins his odyssey: leaving his mom and girlfriend; living in an alien culture; learning English; overcoming jitters; working hard; achieving early success; navigating friendships, occasional racism, and a woman's mixed signals; dealing with an injury; trying performance-enhancing drugs; and, searching for his place in the world. Will he make it to the Majors; will he play in New York? Written by
Sugar is an important Hispanic film. And yes, two Americans made it, Fleck and Boden, but they do so without compromise, without an agenda, and without patronising - and what we get IS an Hispanic film - it is not a film about America, it really is a superb Hispanic (Spanish in America) perspective - and it just blew me away. 100% convincing, valid, justified - and simply a great film.
The story of the baseball player Sugar, played with consummate skill by Soto, has all the elements of a good sports movie plus the added dimension of a very well thought through arc and development.
This is without a doubt one of the better films of the year; it captures both baseball and the alienation of the Hispanic experience in the US with alacrity and a light touch. The characters have real depth and emphasis is placed on the internal rather than simply the external.
Strongly recommended as a breakthrough film for Hispanic film in the US, both in the quality of the story and acting and for excellence in film making.
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