audience Reviews, 83% Audience Score
- Rating: 5 out of 5 starsA heartwarming and engaging tale based on a true story. Fine performances by the cast and a good script. Inspirational!
- Rating: 3 out of 5 starsIN A NUTSHELL: This dramatic movie is based on a true story and the book Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home. A title card during the opening credits informs us that Willie Mays Aikens made baseball history when he hit 2 home runs in two World Series games. The screenplay was written by Gregory W. Jordan who also co-wrote the book. The film was directed by Marcel Sarmiento. THINGS I LIKED: Amin Joseph does a great job portraying a baseball hero who had to overcome the stigma of being a felon after he spent 14 years in prison. There is some talk about how unfair the mandatory sentencing guidelines were in the 1980s. Willie was arrested and sentenced to 20 years for possession of 50 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell. He was released early because the federal rules were revised. We get to see old footage of Willie's actual home runs. He hit 77 home runs for the Kansas City Royals during his career. We also get to see photos & video clips of the real Willie today as we find out what he's up to now. Other cast members include Elisabeth Rohm, Olivia Holguin, Andrea Navedo (I loved her in the popular TV show "Jane the Virgin"), Michael Beach, and Nic Bishop. I loved the scene when Willie goes into a store to buy alcohol. You can see the torture and struggle on Amin Joseph's face as he tries to change his life. I also thought it was super sweet when Willie has lunch with George Brett who orders alcoholic drinks for both of them, but then quickly changes the order to soda in order to support Willie. Let this movie be a reminder to all of us that no earthly accomplishment can compensate for the love and respect of family members. THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE: Willie gets upset that other people don't embrace his return from jail with warmth and excitement. He has a hard time accepting the fact that his condition is 100% his own fault. It would have been fun to see some real baseball players make cameo performances in the movie. A lot of lines are spoken so softly that it's hard to understand what's being said. TIPS FOR PARENTS: We see Willie in prison. Talk of drugs and drug dealing There is something to be said to your kids about the importance of surrounding yourself with good friends who don't break the law. Even more than that, it's crucial to fill your life with friends who support you to be your best self. Alcohol THEMES: Baseball Second chances Change Forgiveness Being a role model Optics and prejudice Mandatory drug sentencing Persistence You can see the full review on the Movie Review Mom YouTube channel.
- Rating: 4.5 out of 5 starsHuge baseball fan here. This is a story that needed to be told. What a comeback!
- Rating: 5 out of 5 starsCompelling, complex film based on Kansas City Royals home-run hero Willie Aikens that focuses on his efforts after prison to reconnect with his daughter. The acting is fantastic, and it shows realistically what is lost when people were sent to prison for decades due to crack cocaine mandatory sentencing versus 2 years for powder cocaine. It also shows the ongoing temptation of addiction, and how small kindnesses can help people stay on the road to recovery and redemption.
- Rating: 5 out of 5 starsGreat storytelling of redemption and family. The story is based on the biography "Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home." by Gregory Jordan. Actor Amin Joseph does a great job as baseball player Aikens, who made history when he became the first player to hit two home runs in two games during the 1980 World Series. The movie focuses on Aikens after he was released from prison and his attempts to connect to his family (wife and daughter who were in Mexico and he hadn't seen in 14 years) and get back into The Kansas City Royals organization. He had been sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1994 on four counts of crack cocaine distribution and one count of use of a firearm during drug trafficking. He was released on June 4, 2008, after changes in federal drug laws. He is sometimes cited as an example of the results of mandatory minimum sentencing in drug-related crimes. Throughout the film, his attorney tries to talk him into testifying before congress on the unjust laws regarding drug-related offenses. The film, at just under 1 hour and 40 minutes, packs plenty of emotion and drama. Even though I'm a baseball fan, I was not familiar with Aikens. I also like how this film discussed the unjust drug sentencing laws, which we often still read about. "The Royal" is definitely a film you don't want to miss.
- Rating: 4 out of 5 starsHeartfelt little indie with a stellar performance by Amin and the actress who plays the daughter. More personal journey than baseball movie