Capra meets Serling for 1980's joyously multi genre hankie wetter.
Coming back to Field Of Dreams over 20 years after its release finds this particular viewer beaming with happiness that the warmth I felt way back when still washes over me in the same way. Director Phil Alden Robinson (All of Me/Fletch) manages to turn W.P. Kinsella's novel, Shoeless Joe, into a multi genre film with deep emotional heart for both sexes to latch on to. It has a beautiful mix of mythology and family values that come together to realise a dream that ultimately rewards those viewers who are prepared to open themselves up to pure fantasy with a deep emotional core.
It was nominated for best picture in 1989 because it struck a cord with so many people, it's not just the thematic heart of the film that delivers, it's also the actors on show who perfectly realise this delightful tale. Kevin Costner is surrounded by great workers in Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan and Burt Lancaster, and he wisely lets these actors dominate the scenes that he shares with them, it's something that is an often forgotten good point of Costner's performances; that he is comfortable to let his co-stars dominate important narrative snatches. However, he is the glue that binds the whole film together, it's quite a naturally engaging performance that rightly gave him the star status he would achieve post release of the film.
As a born and bred Englishman I don't profess to appreciate just how much a way of life Baseball is to Americans, but I do have my own sports in England that I'm happy to dream the dream with in equal measure, and with that I understand all the themes in Field Of Dreams big time. Most of all, though, I can involve myself with its family values, the dream of dreams, and because it's undeniably pure escapist cinema for those who aren't afraid to let their respective guards down for a wee short while, the rewards are many. With a lush James Horner score evocatively layered over the top of it and John Lindley's photography almost ethereal at times, production is suitably in the fantasy realm.
Never twee or over sweet, Field of Dreams is a magical movie in more ways than one. A film that manages to have its cake and eat it and then closes down with one of the most beautiful endings of the 80's. Field of Dreams, still hitting Home Runs after all these years. 9/10