Published by Caroline Nelson ('12) on December 15, 2011 You don’t have to know anything about baseball or even enjoy it to appreciate the film Moneyball. I can guarantee this as I have little patience for sports in general and less for baseball, but I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.
Moneyball is the story of Billy Bean, the manger of the Oakland Athletics, a team that seems to aspire to being referred to as “second rate.” Bean is masterfully portrayed by Brad Pitt, who delivers a tense, nervy performance full of confidence and charisma. He is perfectly amicable but constantly on the attack, his aggression strategically breaking free of its restraints.
Bean is tired of his team’s status (or lack thereof) and the archaic methods for choosing players. In a very funny scene, we get to see the old boys’ club talking about players’ bodies and faces like they were trying to find models for a runway show. Bean’s alternative to the status quo comes in the form of a young Yale grad with a head for numbers and a love of baseball (played by Jonah Hill). Hill is pitch-perfect as the impassioned geek, self-conscious and self-effacing. He looks nervously down at the ground and occasionally meets Pitt’s eyes to deliver some of the film’s funnier lines.
The two men begin using a statistics-based way of choosing players for positions that isn’t well received by anyone, even when they start winning. It boasts a wonderfully smart and witty script. The writers deftly handle material that might become saccharine in less talented hands, such as Billy’s history as a failed baseball player or his relationship with his preteen daughter. The film, made with art and skill, is another ode to the information age much like last year’s The Social Network, both written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.