Field of Dreams (1989) is a film that has gained the appreciation of being called a classic since it first appeared in theatres. The film is about a farmer in Iowa, who after hearing voices, the first being ‘If you build it he will come, decides to obey them and builds a baseball field over his fruitful crops.
The film opens unconventionally, Joe Kinsella (Costner) delivers a voiceover of different family photo’s and home video’s, he gives us touching tales of his childhood and the slowly dissolving relationship between himself and his father. He finishes with ‘I’m 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball but until I heard the voice, I’d never done a crazy thing in my whole life’. It’s this final line, that sets the tone and themes of this film up, the idea of nostalgia, and the families love as well as his huge passion of baseball to which we eventually find out was Joe and his father’s passion which they shared.
Eventually the seasons roll by and the economic situation worsens, leaving the family to contemplate growing crops back over the baseball field. Its in this discussion when the famous’Shoeless’ Joe Jackson of the 1919 Black Sox team appears in the field. After playing together on the field, the voice returns, ‘ease his pain’. After hearing voices and seeing certain things, Joe’s journey leads him to Boston where he meets a famous writer who shared a strong baseball dream and Minnesota, where they find a young player who never got the chance.
This film is a classic because of how real this fantasy is presented. Both Joe and Terence Mann (Writer) share the dream of a time when baseball was a sport, a way of life before it turned into an industry. Indeed the teams that come to play at their field share this dream, and theirs come true.
However as writers will say, there’s no story without conflict, and Joe’s dream doesn’t come without a cost, the bankers are after the land after the family have missed payments. Foreclosure is a certainty, but as Terence states 'They’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray.’ The late Roger Ebert pointed out that this film is the type of film Frank Capra would have made, and James Stewart starring - a movie about dreams.
The main reason why this film is so greatly loved, is because there is no major aim, they aren’t going to come back and start playing in professional leagues, it isn’t focusing on religion. The simple goal of Joe is to get the people he heard stories about at bedtime together to play baseball, because he feels in some way, it will make his father happy, and to relive nostalgia. In time, Joe does more than that, he dips himself in magic waters.
Field of Dreams - 8/10