A case study on number-crunching becomes a compelling drama


© 2011 Sony Pictures Digital Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill
Time Out rating:

Who knew statistical analysis could make you choke up with emotion? Surprisingly poignant for a movie that turns America’s pastime into a card-counting experiment – and filled with crackling dialogue from Oscar winners Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian – Moneyball focuses on the essential issue of baseball and of life: How do you measure human value?

The Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), thinks hard on the matter when his underfunded team’s superstars get traded off for multimillion-dollar contracts. Left to pick up the pieces and scrape together raw talent, Beane eyes redemption in the shape of chubby pencil pusher Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), whose obsession with at-base rankings gives him a Rain Man–like ability to spot potential even in the most broken players.

At heart, this true story of a third-rate major league team’s historic ascent during the 2002 season (adapted from Michael Lewis’s 2003 best-seller) is yet another underdog tale with crippling setbacks and heartwarming cheers. But it’s also a case study worthy of Harvard Business School, a potent rebuke to groupthink and an oddly touching parable about self-worth and second chances. Best of all, filmmaker Bennett Miller (Capote) uses this brainiac sports movie to remind viewers that money is neither the measure of a man nor the ultimate assessment of quality; it’s a myopic metric based on past accomplishments rather than future potential. After all, success isn’t always about the home runs so much as just getting on base – again, and again, and again.

Moneyball opens nationwide on November 11

By Stephen Garrett
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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