Ever since Hopper (Johnny Simmons ) was a child, he has dreamed of becoming a major-league pitcher. Relentlessly pushed by his abusive father (Ethan Hawke), he’s on the verge of becoming one of the game’s most promising players when he unexpectedly breaks down on the mound. Now, Hopper’s only hope lies with an unorthodox sports therapist (Paul Giamatti), who urges him to let go of the past so he can find success on the field.
It’s funny because I wasn’t too sure about how I was going to feel about this film because I’m not really much of a sports person. Surprisingly enough it’s more of a drama that has the backdrop of a sports film and that’s what really grabbed my attention. Throughout the film you see Hopper attempting to deal and overcome the pressures of becoming a MLB pitcher as well as an absive relationship with this father. The subject matter is pretty deep at times but it shows that no one is safe from abuse or mental trauma and it just so happened that in this case it was affecting his pitching skills. Simmons and Hawke equally gave fantastic performances. Simmons was great at portraying this character and I thought that the scenes with him and Giamatti were some of the best. It almost had a Good Will Hunting feel to it the way that they interacted. Hawke’s performance was something else. He played such a hateful character that was not only physically abusive but verbally as well. He really made me hate him and when an actor can produce that kind of response from the audience I feel like they did a perfect job. The movie isn’t anything over the top nor will it make you cheer at the end but it is full of real life moments that will make you sit back and take it all in. 7/10
Interview With The Cast of The Phenom – Simmons, Hawke and Giamatti take a bit about the film and their experiences during production.