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Legacy Review

A League of Their Own (1992)

A League of Their Own is pretty close to the best possible version of itself: It is well-cast and well-directed. The lines are impeccably delivered. The tone is a just-right blend of cynical, smart, and sweet. It’s a big meal of comfort food even if it never quite ascends into greatness.

The screenplay is more good than bad: The flash-forward doesn’t really add anything except twelve minutes of runtime, plus maybe some emotional manipulation on the passage of a golden age. And the themes are all over the place, swerving between sibling bond to girl power to underdog triumph to WW2 patriotism with not much coherence. But the dialogue absolutely crackles, and the level of conflict is always perfectly calibrated: just enough tension to push the narrative, just enough nostalgic vibes to warm the heart.

The performances are pretty uniformly excellent, especially the leads: Hanks gets to be a charming drunk asshole for two hours, while Geena Davis radiates strength and intelligence to give her role tons of heft. The supporting cast is a jamboree; even Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna’s silliness is more charming than grating.

The last half hour is easily the movie’s weakest; the shoehorned rift between Kit and Dottie is a minor downer, the flash-forward too indulgent. But it’s still a pretty delightful 4-quadrant crowd-pleaser.

Is It Good?

Very Good (6/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.


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3 replies on “A League of Their Own (1992)”

Where do you stand on the question of whether Dottie drops the ball on purpose at the end?

I have to admit that idea never occurred to me. There are certainly some character reasons why she might want to throw the game, e.g. to give her sister the moment. But she’s also pretty competitive. I just rewatched the scene and what I saw doesn’t make me think it’s on purpose, but I wouldn’t rule the theory out.

What’s your take?

I tend to think she did. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that, but I think it’s the conclusion of her recognizing that the game matters more to her sister and she has other priorities anyway. Plus the way it’s filmed, it’s always looked to me like she could’ve held onto the ball if she wanted to.

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