First, the romance Bull Durham, then the nostalgic Field of Dreams, now Kevin Costner completes a baseball movie trilogy with the film, For the Love of the Game. Costner plays aging pitcher Billy Chapel who has pitched for the Detroit Tigers for 20 years. Suddenly, he faces being traded from his loyal team and losing the love of his life, Jane Aubrey, played by Kelly Preston.
Based on a book written by Michael Shaara and directed by Sam Raimi (A Simple Plan, Quick and the Dead), this film paints a realistically detailed picture of baseball from a pitcher’s point of view.
The cinematography captures baseball games “under the lights” and at Yankee stadium while the plot thrives on the tough decisions Billy & Jane make at a crucial crossroad. Raimi uses many flashbacks to give the audience necessary background about Billy & Jane’s relationship.
Jane becomes overwhelmed with Billy’s sportsman lifestyle, but has shared a stable, loving relationship with him for four years. Jane’s occupation as a fashion magazine writer and her daughter’s objection to Billy further stress the relationship. Jena Malone plays the daughter in a minor role similar to the one she played as the daughter of Susan Sarandon’s character in Stepmom.
Billy wants Jane to understand the importance of baseball in his life and gets moral support from his teammates, especially his faithful catcher and friend, Gus, played by John C. Reilly. Some exhilarating baseball sequences and solid acting performances from the entire cast help, but the running time is a bit too long. Recommended with reservations (**1/2 out of four stars).
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler