Hey if you can’t speak English, it doesn’t matter, just play baseball in the states.
After he catches the eye of a scout while playing in his native Dominican Republic, baseball prospect Miguel “Sugar” Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) is recruited to play in the minor leagues in the Midwest, where he has difficultly adapting both on and off the field.
This film is written & directed by the indie duo, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who are most known for making a very good piece, Half Nelson. That one really got to the core of me, this one, kind of id the same thing.
The film starts off as a run-of-the-mill sports drama, where we see how this immigrant, tries to cope with being the big-dog in the Minor Leagues, but then after the first hour, it totally switches gears into a film about this poor guy, who comes to this big place, with no friends, no learning of the English language, and nothing us but a sweet curve to his name. I really did feel bad for this guy, cause everything was going around him, and he has no idea what is, because he doesn’t speak English very well, and when it comes to his dreams, he doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality.
This isn’t your ordinary, regular, sports film, where the voice of God is telling this person, to construct a baseball field, it’s more about the struggles that this one poor dude faces, moving into a new country. He’s got plenty of struggles that come through this film, and you feel for him, cause he tries to cope with every problem he has, but nobody is there for him, and it’s just sad to watch, but not sappy sad, good sad. Sorry, I don’t know how to explain. The screenplay isn’t just all dramatic, and sympathetic, there are some literally funny, and genuine, touching moments, that actually put a smile on your face.
The one problem I had with this film, is that it is, very, very slow. It starts off slow, and then it picks up pace, then it gets back to being slow again, and I was just a little annoyed by this, and how I was expecting this film to speed up and give me a fun story, instead it just got bleak, and dull at moments.
Algenis Perez Soto was a great choice for this movie, cause when Boden & Fleck were looking for actors to portray this character, they didn’t want your regular normal actor, they wanted an actual baseball player, which adds a lot to the authenticity of this character. He also seems like a very nice guy, that tries so hard to be the best, but not in a cocky way, so when things go wrong for him, it sucks, and you feel for him.
Consensus: It may get dull at times, but Sugar still prevails in giving us an authentic and touching, if sympathetic story on the world of sports, and not knowing about the big world you live in, where you know nothing.