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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 simply one of the best sports movies ever and it does so avoiding every sports movies cliché ever made. The story of the main character is simply a composite of the story of the majority of people who go to play the game professionally. Not only that, but also reflects the story of the immigrant who comes to America pursuing a dream.
Spoken mostly in Spanish, the movie almost qualifies as a foreign language film. The filmmakers do an excellent job capturing the contrast in atmosphere of the Dominican Republic -a poor country, rich in happiness- to the heartland of America, and back to the Bronx -a Dominican stronghold outside of the island, also stricken by poverty.
As in "Friday Night Lights" you can feel the constant stress these young players endure to make it big. It's every bit as tense and if you like baseball, and are interested a little bit about these foreign superstars now playing the game, this movie is going to be a treat.
One of the best films of 2009.
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