A fictional story about Miguel “Sugar” Santos, a baseball player from the Dominican Republic, who gets picked up by the United States minor league system where he attempts to advance on to the majors. It has all the ingredients for a typical inspirational sports drama, but when Sugar makes it to the U.S. reality hits him hard and any potential cliches are thrown out the window.
I loved how the flim highlighted the contrast between Sugar’s life in the Dominican Republic and life in the States. Back home he’s a young celebrity, but in the states he’s almost completely isolated, only able to speak a small amount of English and getting by on only short, basic conversations. It works just as much as an immigrant film as it does a sports film.
This was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the pair who made “Half Nelson” a few years back. I have to say that after this one I’m officially on board for their next project. They took no budget and some unknown actors and managed to push the envelope for sports dramas. They use a documentary style perfectly, and make great use of music, setting, and so on. It’s a hell of a lot better than Invictus, I’ll say that much.