Field Of Dreams

"Excellent"

Field Of Dreams Review


Briefly, the plot of Field of Dreams: A thirty-something man hears voices from a Higher Power, abandons his ties to his family, wanders the earth gathering a passel of believers, suffers the mocking laughter of his townspeople but soon redeems himself, and, finally, is reconciled with his father. Say what you want about Kevin Costner, but you can't say he never played Jesus Christ.

In the '90s, Costner's messianic ambitions - his belief that his aw-shucks Everyman demanded an epic canvas to match his bank account - produced some of the worst films ever made. But his attitude works perfectly in 1989's Field of Dreams (based on the book Shoeless Joe) because the setting is appropriately modest; if we could never buy him as a post-apocalyptic savior, he's just fine as a middle-class hero. Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a rat-race refugee who's moved his wife Anni (Amy Madigan) and daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffmann) to a farmhouse in Iowa. One evening, alone amongst the corn, Ray hears a voice tell him, "If you build it, they will come." A vision of a baseball field is presented before him, and he immediately sets to work re-creating it, believing that it might help him better understand his late father, from whom he was long estranged.

A born baseball obsessive, this is Ray's sweetest fantasy made real, and director Philip Alden Robinson is careful to give this all to us gently, with lots of summer-twilight orange light and lilting humor. And then Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta), the disgraced Chicago White Sox player, arrives on the field, curious about this new place but clearly feeling at home. It prompts the pitch-perfect exchange between Joe and Ray that's now the movie's hallmark: "Is this heaven?" "No, it's Iowa."

Of course, everyone else thinks Ray's gone barking mad - his quixotic actions have threatened both his goodwill and livelihood. But Ray persists, and his energy lifts the film as he crosses the country, bringing two great cameo appearances into the film. As the aging Dr. Archie "Moonlight" Graham - who in his youth played precisely half an inning of pro ball - Burt Lancaster acts with sweetness and precision, like a Norman Rockwell painting made real. But it's James Earl Jones, as the J.D. Salinger-esque '60s author Terence Mann, who gives the movie the final push into believability and poetry that it needs. It's also his finest moment as an actor; his penultimate speech about the enduring power of baseball is so heart-bustingly inspirational that Ken Burns needed a 19-hour documentary to match its spirit. (Though Burns made room for Negro League players, which Field of Dreams embarassingly doesn't.)

Field of Dreams, despite a script with Capra-like levels of Old Fashioned American Goodness, is one of the most daring Hollywood films of the '80s. It asks us to suspend our disbelief more than any movie that doesn't feature lasers and robots, builds its plot around an esoteric era of sports history most people care nothing about, and suggests that a man who befriends ghosts and endangers his family is a hero. But sinuously, these plot threads wend their way through the film, sensibly and believably, so that when we're hit with a double-whammy of tear-jerking plot twists, we don't feel manipulated or bullied into responding. It holds up a mirror to our own dreaming, sounds back the hopeful voices in our heads, and makes it all feel right and perfect. It's the sort of thing that Hollywood promises to give us every week but, too often, fails to deliver.



Field Of Dreams

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th May 1989

Box Office Worldwide: $84.4M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Studios

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Ray Kinsella, as Terrence Mann, as Annie Kinsella, as Mark, as "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, as Doc "Moonlight" Graham, as Archie Graham, as John Kinsella, Lee Garlington as Beulah Gasnick, as Karin Kinsella, Kelly Coffield Park as Dee, Mark's Wife, as Buck Weaver, as Chick Gandil, as Principal, as PTA Heckler

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.