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Cast: Johnny Simmons, Paul Giamatti, Ethan Hawke

Director: Noah Buschel


Year: 2016

Rating: NR

When major-league rookie pitcher Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) can't find the plate, he's sent down to the minor leagues and begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti). In the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father (Ethan Hawke) are brought to light.

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With the official start of summer and Major League Baseball heating up RLJ Entertainment brings you the Baseball Drama, "The Phenom." It tells the story of Hopper Gibson a young rookie in the major leagues who begins to struggle. Everything he had that got him to the big stage he suddenly can't find anymore. Gibson struggles to find the plate. After a total meltdown where he throws five wild pitches in one inning the team sends him back down to the minors and they have him take some sessions with a very successful sports psychologist.

During the sessions the doctor discovers that there is more to the young pitcher's problems than meets the eye. It seems a lot of the problems are caused by his overbearing, no-good dad who hates his own life so much he doesn't want to see anyone else happy and that includes his son. His father is toxic to him not only on the field but off it.

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"The Phenom" is a character piece with a lot more drama about family than actual baseball but it works. A coming of age film about a young man trying to find his way while being pushed to the limits by his alcoholic father, media pressure and the pressure of being labeled a sensation and not really believing it himself. The is a well-written drama that is both smart and engaging. It is very easy to feel for this young man and that is what the story aims for, there are a lot of emotions stirring around in this young man's head and the audience feels each and every one of them.

A drama like this needs to have a cast that can bring the characters to life and the cast certainly does here. Johnny Simmons is of course the star of the film and he does an amazing job playing Hopper, he brings all the feelings and emotions needed to his character and a powerful and realistic way. Ethan Hawke is also excellent has the father, even though you hate his father his presence cannot be denied. And last but certainly not least is the brilliant Paul Giamatti who plays the psychologist. Giamatti is one of my favorite actors and even with a small role he still shines.

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"The Phenom" is a baseball drama that is about finding yourself and in the end forgiveness. It may not be a great film but it is a solid drama with an amazing cast that delivers on what it promises. A heart felt story that makes for an enjoyable time and it will leave you thinking about it and talking about it long after it is over. "The Phenom" will be available on DVD and Blu-ray August 30th with Special Features that include:

Interview with the Cast

Photo Gallery

You can order the DVD HERE and the Blu-ray HERE.

If you like a good drama then I recommend checking it out.

Released by RLJ Entertainment

*** 3/4 Out Of *****