I was interested in seeing Sugar for a few reasons. Knowing that the folks behind it are the same filmmaking duo that gave us Half Nelson, I was pretty sure this wouldn't be an ordinary, feel-good sports movie. And the focus of the story only further intrigued me: Minor-league training camps in the Dominican Republic that churn out baseball players with the efficiency (and emotional investment) of a factory.
This baseball premise is a pretty ingenious way to portray the immigrant experience in America. Few things are more all-American than this long-held pastime, and it's not hard to draw parallels between the triumph of a home run (or striking someone out) and achieving one's dreams in the land of the free. That's why it's so gut-wrenching when a young man, full of optimism and athletic potential, is shipped off to America only to find that the shimmery promise of baseball is complicated at best and pure myth at worst. To see what else is unique about this intelligent movie, read more