US movie (1989). Universal/Gordon. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson; producers Charles Gordon, Lawrence Gordon; executive producer Brian Frankish. Written by Robinson. Based on Shoeless Joe (1982) by W P Kinsella. Cast includes Dwier Brown, Timothy Busfield (Mark), Kevin Costner, Gaby Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan (Annie Kinsella) and Frank Whaley. 106 minutes. Colour.
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Costner) fell out of love with father John (Brown) years before the man died. One night a Voice says to Ray: "If you build it, he will come." (This is often misquoted as "If you build it, they will come.") The incident recurs, and he believes he is losing his mind; he is furious on discovering daughter Karin (Hoffman) watching Harvey (1950) on television. At last come visions of a Baseball ground on his land and of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Liotta), his father's baseball hero. Ray ploughs under much of his corn to carve a field. Months later, the ghost of Shoeless Joe indeed appears, bringing with him others from the Chicago Black Sox; they use the field as a practice-ground, though they cannot cross the perimeter of this Pocket Universe. The Voice speaks to Ray again, saying "Ease his pain", and Ray concludes the sufferer is 1960s guru writer and pacifist Terence Mann (Jones), now an embittered recluse; Ray and Mann go to Chisholm, Minnesota, to contact minor baseball player "Moonlight" Graham (Lancaster), but discover Graham is dead. Ray enters a Timeslip, returning to 1972, where the aged Graham, a much-loved doctor and benefactor, explains he thanks God his baseball career was cut so short. Driving back to Iowa, they pick up a baseball-mad youth called Archie Graham (Whaley); once they have returned to the "field of dreams" Archie is invited to play with the past stars, who regard the field as Heaven. But Karin has a choking fit and Archie exits the field to aid her, becoming the elderly Doc Graham and eventually joining the baseball players in the afterlife; Mann, too, is invited there, and goes. The last shade left on the field is John Kinsella, and father and son rediscover each other through baseball practice.
Field of Dreams shows every sign of having been crafted out of love. Its major theme is the power of belief: belief, it says, can alter Perception; and perception has the power to alter reality. [JGr]
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