Monday, October 1, 2012

Trouble with the Curve (Movie Review)

The newly released movie, "Trouble with the Curve," stars Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, and Clint Eastwood, and it's well worth seeing. Essentially, it's a baseball movie, about an old scout for the Atlanta Braves (Eastwood). He's got some serious issues with his declining health as he nears retirement age. He's being pushed out of his job by all the generation X scouts who use computers to find prospects. Eastwood identifies prospects the old-fashioned way, by sight and even by sound.

The aging baseball scout is widowed, and has a distant and conflicted relationship with his only daughter (Adams).While Eastwood's character is a bit too curmudgeon-like for my taste, it's still a heart-warming story about estranged family relationships, differences in perspective, and the capacity of the human heart to heal relationships, even late in the game.

Amy Adams is genuine, and shows depth of character as an attorney trying to make partner in a male-dominated law firm. Her adult life has been, in large part, a reaction to her childhood wounds. She's been through a great deal of loss, including the early death of her mother, and an absent father. She's admirable in her willingness to dig deep and recognize how she has kept herself guarded and emotionally unavailable as an adult because she holds on to the legacy about loss and abandonment she experienced as a child.

Justin Timberlake is delightful and just the right touch of funny and challenging to both the leads. He is another scout trying to transition his career after blowing out his arm as a pitcher in the majors.

"Trouble with the Curve" works on several levels. It's a touching film about the love of baseball and the human element in the game. It's also a great metaphor for looking at how we each deal with the unexpected curve balls we are thrown in life. In this movie, the curve balls are losses in career and family, aging, disappointment, health changes, and unexpected chances at loving someone again. In life, we all get thrown curve balls. Many things happen to each of us that we never expected, some of them good, and some of them heartbreaking.

"Trouble with the Curve" is a good reminder that choosing to be flexible, resilient, and have your heart made gentler and softer by the unexpected is an excellent choice. You can learn to adapt to life's curve balls, rather than let them take you out of the game. Curve balls, it turns out, are both a part of baseball and a part of life. Adapting well and keeping your heart vulnerable and your defenses down gives you the best chance at batting 300 in life.

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