BIG LEAGUE ROMANCE for the WORLD SERIES
Audiences love having room to explore an array of different meanings in movies. Because outside of the filmmaker’s point of view, there is no “most accurate” permutation. The possibility for messages and personal attachments creates a specific accessibility for a movie viewer, and Brampton’s Own tackles this game of connotation in a much more unique kind of way. Michael Doneger, writer and director of the film, paints the facade of a baseball story that follows Dustin (Alex Russell), a minor league player, battling the ails of losing faith in the direction of his life. The interesting thing here is that the movie is not really about baseball at all. In my interview with Michael, he explained baseball as being a “perfect function” in order to properly tell the story of the protagonist Dustin, and the regressive obstacles he continues to face in his arc towards stability and peace. Baseball is the device. Amour is the movie.
Dustin, famously known in his local town as ‘Brampton’s own,’ entered the minor leagues right out of school. He was a prodigy in his small community, and every single piece to ensure his future in the big leagues was falling into place. Though the circumstances obviously did not remain in his favor.
We enter the movie with Dustin at a point when he’s been hovered over the minor league status for years, with no real MLB prospect in sight. Dustin’s once admirable talent is mucked over by new emerging talents as well as his own dwindling performance abilities. We quickly come to realize that Dustin will experience another dry year with no MLB likelihood, and it is here that he decides to return to Brampton – his quaint suburban hometown. It is also here that Doneger’s tool of baseball has done its job and releases us to the jurisdiction of the romantic comedy. After Dustin arrives, he learns of the new developments of his ex-girlfriend, someone who he had broken up with years ago to pursue baseball. Rachel (Rose McIver) is dating the charismatic town dentist, and to worsen the sore, the two soon became engaged. Dustin is left in a sort of speculative purgatory. He cannot return to baseball, he cannot freely get back with his ex, and he has no other career alternatives. Michael Doneger has mentioned his fascination with people who gave up everything, sacrificed the rest, and gradually fell into a position that means nothing. At this moment in the film, Dustin is in that situation – one of no merit and no potential. At this point, Doneger begins gearing Dustin with the passion and tools to pursue what’s most important in his life, his childhood sweetheart Rachel.
Brampton’s Own delivers a very thorough narrative on the vigors of lost relationships and chisels a peephole into the world of strain in the average AAA player’s life. This perspective is framed beautifully by director of photography Kieran Murphy and aids in creating the concise story that it is. Doneger says that he continues to work on his projects, and with each one comes a new set of skills and intelligence that he didn’t have before. So a good luck to you, Michael. We’ll see you at the plate.
Writer-Director: Michael Doneger
Featuring: Rose McIver, Alex Russell, Jean Smart, Riley Voelkel, Spencer Grammer, and more
Available: YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV
2018 / USA / English / Drama / 89 Minutes
Max Ferguson is a student at NYU studying film and sitcom writing. He has written for several magazines, two university-based newspapers, and has won national awards for his essays.