Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 24, 2012

Do the math!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:30 pm

February 24, 2012

Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt

Director: Bennett Miller

The best sports films are the ones that can appeal to people who don’t like sports. Moneyball, based on a true story, stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the manager of the failing Oakland Athletics baseball team, who is unable to afford star players on his limited financial resources. Beane befriends Jonah Hill’s character, Peter Brand, a just-out-of-college stats-wiz who’s devised a system of rating players using mathematics. It allows Beane and Brand to build a team of players who are undervalued by everyone else, and therefore available on Oakland’s meager budget.

Despite its theme, this is really a film about people rather than baseball. The players are a bunch of underdogs, who just might come together and win the day. Beane, meanwhile, is a worried father, recovering from a failed marriage, and Brand is a nerdy number-cruncher with a passion for the sport. The film’s best scenes are the ones in which Beane and Brand’s crazy idea ruffles the feathers of the game’s old guard, which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman as the team’s petulant coach.

Moneyball isn’t perfect, though. The uneven pacing is a problem, and you never really know what the film is building towards. For viewers unfamiliar with the game, the constant use of baseball jargon and the hard-to-follow statistics conversations, render chunks of this film incomprehensible. Still, there’s some crackling dialogue from The Social Network’s Aaron Sorkin, and two winning performances from its leads that make this film consistently watchable, despite its bumps.

Brad Pitt is charming as Beane, but also plays the character a little weary and weathered. Jonah Hill brings a quiet confidence to the part of Brand, making a big impression in his first dramatic role.

I’m going with three out of five for Moneyball. It’s the thinking man’s sports film, with more layers than your classic inspirational story.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. 3 ✩ is a very modest rating on this wonderful film. The uneven pace of the movie blends in perfectly with the story and particularly with Brad Pitt’s spectacular acting. The film isn’t supposed to teach baseball to everyone first and then showcase the story. So, the use of jargon’s is fine. The best thing about is it that there is hardly much baseball action which doesn’t make it boring.

    Comment by Jay Jani — February 25, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  2. Totally Agree with u mannn !! Had much expectations from this movie , but Itna Nahi Maza Aya !!

    Comment by Sunil Punjabi — February 25, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  3. Review’s perfect and jonah hill is really impressive in his role… hope to see him more coming

    Comment by vamsi — February 25, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  4. Agree with the review. Brad Pitt’s performance was good, but not worthy of an Oscar nomination.

    Comment by George — February 25, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  5. I reckon 4 stars was thoroughly deserved. Gotta love BradPitt, that was one mesmerizing performance. I watched it a couple of times already.

    Comment by zameer — February 29, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  6. not agree

    Comment by naishal b dave — April 6, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

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