Field of Dreams (1989)

I don’t cry. I didn’t cry when Marley died, or when Jack died because Rose wouldn’t share the door with him, or when Old Yeller was shot. I know when a film is trying to make me cry, and I refuse. For lesser films, it’s emotional manipulation, and I reject it as poor filmmaking. Field of Dreams is different. I’m not admitting that I cry, but I will say it makes me emotional. Sure, it too is working on our emotions, but the key is that it’s just so well done. Nobody in the film actually cries. There aren’t any close ups on the actors face as they weep, and the score is so beautiful and effective, without being cloying. In this scene, in particular, Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (played poignantly by Burt Lancaster in his last role) gets the chance he never had in life to play major league baseball on the magical field made by Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner). Graham gave up his dream of playing baseball so that he could practice medicine and care for people. Once Kinsella’s young daughter falls from the bleachers and looks to be in serious trouble, Graham makes the decision once again essentially to give up baseball to help the girl. After saving her, he walks off to the unknown while the remaining players show their respect. It’s this moment that gets to me, as I imagine this scene as the dream for anybody at the end of their life and their career, walking off into the unknown with their peers’ admiration.

-Walter Howard-

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