Film Review: Field of Dreams (1989)

Into the Dark - Film Review: Field of Dreams (1989)

This delicate fantasy about regret and second chances casts a powerful spell that brings many grown men to tears before the credits roll. To that effect, Field of Dreams is a beautiful indictment of the unspoken, unrequited nature of father-son relationships — the main ingredient in any male weepy. The story concerns a beleaguered Iowa farmer (Kevin Costner) who, while standing in his cornfield at dusk one afternoon, hears a mysterious voice: “If you build it, he will come.” With the support of his stalwart wife (Amy Madigan), the farmer takes a leap of faith and embarks on an odyssey guided by unseen forces that will introduce him to heroes both dead and alive, ultimately revealing the identity of the mysterious “he.”

It helps that Kevin Costner is the lead. He has an ‘everyman’ quality that allows everyone in the audience to identify with him. And he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that includes not only Madigan, whose phenomenal (this may be my favorite depiction of a married couple in the movies), but also James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster. Adding to the film’s lyricism is cinematographer John Lindley, who waited for “magic hour” (that 15 minutes of the day when the sun is setting) to shoot several scenes, and composer James Horner, who largely improvised one of the greatest scores of his career.

Field of Dreams is unlike any other film I’ve seen, a quality we should always value. It’s a brave movie that wears its heart on its sleeve and opts not to explain itself. It also ends with a suggestion I wish more people would take to heart. When ghostly baseball players appear in Costner’s field, they ask if they’re in heaven. Costner tells them it’s just Iowa, but later wonders if he’s mistaken.

What a lovely thought: that heaven is here and now.

Rating: 4.5/5 ★★★★½ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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