The Natural
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The film version of The Natural pulls off the neat trick of conveying the spirit of the Bernard Malamud novel upon which it is based, even while changing both the outcome and the meaning of Malamud's closing chapters. In his first film appearance in four years, Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a farm boy with a hankering to be a great baseball player. With his faithful homemade bat "Wonderboy" in hand, Roy heads to the big city. En route, he arouses the fascination of the mysterious Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). Luring the boy to a hotel room, Harriet asks Roy what he wants out… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Being a baseball fan involves repeatedly experiencing exquisite pain and exquisite joy. Well, there's a lot of both in The Natural."
‑ Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
"I've just about had it with directors who use the mythic mode as an alibi for unshaded characterizations, simpleminded plotting, and swells of artificial emotionality."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Barry Levinson deviates considerably from the wry, ironic tone of Malamud's novel, and if the film is mildly enjoyable it's due to the acting of the supporting cast and polished production values."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"unabashedly sentimental and grand in its themes of goodness, honor, tenacity, and forgiveness"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Somewhat overly sentimental, lacking the novel's subtlety, and less interesting when the action leaves the ball park, Barry Levinson's beautifully shot film is nonetheless a charming fairy tale."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Levinson must have felt he had to swing for the fences. He can be forgiven for choking up with all The Natural's fans looking on dubiously. In fairness, the official scorer must credit him with a single. And Redford with an RBI."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"Let yourself go and be rewarded by the sight of a hero running home to victory through clouds of fire."
‑ , Time Out
"An otherwise fine sports fantasy is dragged down by an overindulgence in sentimentality."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"No popped-up fly doubles. Just wham, bam, home run. Get the picture?"
‑ , Film4
"Jammed full with cliches, The Natural never misses a chance to manipulate the audience"
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"The Natural is an impeccably made, but quite strange, fable about success and failure in America."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The message is: Baseball is purely and simply a matter of divine intervention. At about the 130-minute mark, I got the idea that God's only begotten son was playing right field for the New York team."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"...silly, repetitive, episodic, mannered..."
‑ Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central
"Robert Redford isn't playing a 1930s baseball hero ... he's playing an instrument of God."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"A mature and elegiac fantasy done with feeling and sincerity that really captures the mystique of old-time baseball."
‑ Chuck O'Leary, FulvueDrive-in.com
More reviews for The Natural on Rotten Tomatoes

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