Miguel ‘Sugar’ Lopez is a Dominican pitcher who gets called up to play for an American Minor League team. He soon finds himself in Iowa, living with an elderly couple who provide lodging for players.

Everyone is kind and supportive, but even with other Dominicans on the team, Sugar can’t help but feel displaced. And, with major leaguers who don’t want to lose their spot to him and other amatuer players who want to be where he is, he can’t really claim job security.

This is not a baseball movie. It’s a movie about a young man who happens to be a gifted baseball player. His hopes and dreams can be transplated to millions of others.

Ryan Fleck and Anna Bowen chose this as the follow-up to their phenomenal first film, Half Nelson. In person, they seem impossibly young, but they must truly have old souls. They capture so much in the frame, they write athentic dialogue and they get brilliant performances from their actors. I was stunned to learn that their lead (Algenis Perez Soto) was a first-time actor who they discovered actually playing baseball in the DR. In repose, his face is a map of sadness and yearning. On second thought, I doubt that kind of realness can be taught in acting class.

No affiliation whatsoever

This is not an official TIFF site. If it was I would not have to wait in so many lineups with my festival knapsack full of water, snacks, sunscreen and other supplies.


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