The Natural (1984)

Robert Redford stars in “The Natural” as Roy Hobbs, a young man with a dream. He wants to be the best baseball player that ever lived, and he’s got the talent to make that dream come true. While heading off on a trip to talk to some coaches about playing, he meets a woman on the train, a mysterious, alluring woman named Harriet Bird. Also on the train is a ball player known as “The Whammer” for his amazing ability with a bat. The Whammer challenges Roy to a contest – if Roy can strike him out on three pitches, Roy wins. Well, Roy wins, and Harriet is very impressed.

She asks him to meet her in her hotel room, and when he arrives, she shoots him in the stomach.

We fast-forward sixteen years. Roy is now middle-aged and wants to get back in the game, but it’s been a long time because of his recovery. No one wants to give him a chance until he is spotted by a scout for the Knights. When Pop, head coach for the Knights (Wilford Brimley) sees Roy, he’s not amused and has no intention of playing him. But when Roy finally gets his chance, he literally knocks the cover off the ball.

Finally Pop sees the potential in Roy, and the Knights start having their first winning streak in ages. This does not make the Judge happy. He owns the most shares in the Knights and he’s been betting against them and making a fortune. He’s got a side bet that if the Knights win the Pennant, Pop can buy the shares back that he had to sell to the Judge some time ago. If the Knights don’t take the Pennant, Pop will never get his shares back. The Judge has every reason to want the Knights to lose, so he looks for a way to win Roy over. He tries offering him money, but Roy won’t throw the game. Then he finds another weakness, and sends Memo Paris (Kim Basinger) to seduce Roy. She can seduce him but she can’t make him throw the game.

Meanwhile, Roy’s old girlfriend from back home (Glenn Close) has caught wind of his return to baseball and comes to see him. They find the sparks are still there, but they’ve changed so much in sixteen years, it’s like meeting someone all over again for the first time. The bond still exists, though, in more ways than Roy had realized.

I really liked this film, although in some places it is a bit slow. I liked watching him stick true to his convictions clear through to the very end. I liked watching him interact with his fans. I liked watching his face (we all must admit, he’s a nice looking man). There was a little bit of language and a little bit of sensuality, and so it’s not a movie I’d put on for a room full of kids, but it’s a great mommy/daddy movie to watch after the kids are in bed.

This film was rated PG.

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