Well, readers, let me tell you a story. It’s about a movie I know. For many years, I wasn’t keen on this movie. It was my late husbands favourite. He loved it in the way I loved Tom Cruise in Top Gun, so that’s saying something! I always watched it with him but usually under protest!!
Roll forward a few years. The movie site house still stands. The baseball diamond is still there but now there is something special. Major League Baseball have built another diamond. MLB have come home to Iowa. It was this that prompted me to revisit the film.
Now when we talk about the movie, it’s been called many things. Some call it schmaltzy. Some call it silly. Some wondered at the time if it was going to be centred around religion. After all, who hears strange voices when working on their farm? Would it surprise you if I said the last one is correct? It’s not religion per se, but it is America’s religion. That of Major League Baseball. Throw in a lovely family including cute but precocious daughter, a farm and crippling debt piling up.
Welcome to ‘Field of Dreams’.
The protagonist in the movie is Ray, the farmer. He is out in his cornfield when he hears the voice.
“If you build it, he will come”.
Looking around, seeing no one, our farmer continues with his work. Again, “if you build it, he will come”. Our farmer, ably played by Kevin Costner in the role of Ray Kinsella, doesn’t understand the message, so is gifted a vision of the baseball diamond. Now he understands. Now he gets it.
Ray understands that the build promises him Joe Jackson, or Shoeless Joe, of the infamous Chicago Black Sox of 1919, as he was nicknamed. Ray has to sell this idea to his wife, the ever-trusting Annie, played by Amy Maddigan. She trusts her husband, as he trusts the voice and tells him to do what he needs to do. Annie supports the initial vision and that he travels to enlist assistance in the endeavour from a famous writer. He also finds someone who never got to play with the pros. Thank you Burt Lancaster for your final film role.
The movie is not just baseball, while that does play a large part of it. The movie also gives you a bank who thinks the farmer has lost the plot…. literally. A potential foreclosure of the farm and the idea of demolishing of the field. While every movie has the nail-biting moments, this movie gifts you a beautiful one which really tells you what’s at the heart of the film. The movie is a father-son love letter.
Rays father, John, was an avid baseball player, but someone who Ray had a broken relationship with. He never had the chance to rectify this before he died. But six minutes on the silver screen changed all that. Six minutes of John Kinsella on the field. Those six minutes that culminated in the words,
“Hey dad, wanna have a catch?”.
“I’d like that”