'Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories' blends baseball with a redemptive story of sacrifice. In the words of the Gospel of John, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down ...
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'Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories' blends baseball with a redemptive story of sacrifice. In the words of the Gospel of John, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." These words from scripture inspire Puerto Rican baseball superstar Roberto Clemente to make a difference, to die giving. The film traces the life of the greatest right fielder of all time, as he faces and overcomes the racist reporters of the Pittsburgh Press and struggles to prove his talents despite the baseball writers conspiring to cheat him out of his due recognition. Baseball's Last Hero is a love story at his core. Roberto meets the love of his life, Vera, and they create a family, a safe haven for Roberto who is plagued by nightmares and a growing sense he will die young. Roberto's love for the poor compels him on a mission of mercy. On New Year's Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente dies a hero's death, killed in ... Written by
Richard Rossi Writer-Director
The forty year wait since Clemente's death was more than worth it for this gem of a film. "Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories" is a labor of love from Writer/Director, Richard Rossi who like so many of us who love this film grew up watching Clemente play. The film plays out in 21 chapters, 21 being not only the uniform number Roberto wore but the number of letters in his three names: Roberto Walker Clemente. Understanding that chronology is important to following the film.
I loved every aspect of this masterful movie and I learned things I never knew about Clemente. The love Vera and Roberto shared was endless, like Romeo and Juliet, a great love that ends in tragedy. Olympian Jamie Nieto deftly portrays in an acting tour de force the adversities Roberto had playing the game not only from injuries sustained from a car accident but from racist reporters. The Pittsburgh Press were out to mock him and call him a "Puerto Rican hot dog." Fortunately, it made him more determined to prove he was the greatest right fielder of all time.
I cried watching this film, reliving the feelings I had when I found out as a fifth grader the plane went down. "Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories" is a film every Clemente fan needs to see, bringing the glory days of the Pirates back to life by the amazing performance from Nieto as Roberto. Nieto brought the same passion to the role that brought him to two Olympic games. The rest of the supporting cast did a stellar job.
The feeling Rossi conveyed to me was a nostalgia like I was in the living room again in 1971 re- experiencing it in front of our old TV screen. This film was made on a small budget and doesn't look like a studio film, and it is not a precise retelling of every historical aspect.
This is a film for lovers like Roberto, and this film made history as the first feature dramatic film on Clemente's life. It's important for the viewer to have the cerebration to grasp the genre and the style of the film, and the way that it was made and the reasons why it was shot the way it was and why it is not, thank God, an exact detail of everything that happened exactly in Clemente's life from start to finish. The film is far more moving and entertaining because of the choices Rossi and the cast and crew made.
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