Well, movie fans, over the weekend, yours truly managed to locate a copy and finally watch The Natural, the 1984 film starring Robert Redford. In the movie, Redford plays Roy Hobbs, an baseball player with unusual natural talent. In the beginning, we learn that Roy had lost his father at an early age to a heart attack. Later, the tree near where Roy’s father had collapsed was struck by lightning. Roy would go on to use the wood from this tree to fashion a bat for himself, which he named “Wonderboy.”
As a young man, Roy gets called up for a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, and he boards a train, leaving his girlfriend Iris behind. On the train, Roy meets a mysterious woman, who lures him to her hotel room once they arrive in the Chicago. Unexpectedly, the woman shoots Roy with a silver bullet before committing suicide herself. Roy’s baseball career is put to an early end.
Sixteen years later, Roy signs with the New York Knights, and this is where the meat of the movie begins. We learn more about Roy, his personality, his past, and his undeniable love for the game of baseball. He inadvertently finds himself dragged into a world of scandal and manipulation. Roy stands strong, however, as his respect for the game outweighs all else.
It’s not hard to see why this film was nominated for four Academy Awards. Many aspects of the story, including the talent of Roy Hobbs, are quite far-fetched, but it comes out in a way that makes you want to watch it more than just one time. It’s one of those feel-good, American apple pie stories that we all know is too good to ever happen in real life, but which we love all the same.