Oscar caliber movies are seldom released in the spring, but THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is an exception.
I also recommend "42," the new film about Jackie Robinson, the first African American Major League baseball player.
Both movies are about how one person's decision can have a huge effect on the next generation.
In "42" a baseball general manager decides to bring an African American player into the Major Leagues.
And in THE PLACE BEHIND THE PINES two fathers make bad decisions that do lasting damage to the lives of their sons.
In that film Ryan Gosling plays Luke, a motorcycle stunt rider in a traveling carnival, who, a year earlier, had a fling with Romina, played by Eva Mendes.
Romina: Do you remember my name?
Luke: Romina. I liked to call you Ro.
What Luke soon discovers (though not from her) is that he is the father of her baby boy. That motivates him to quit the carnival and try to be responsible for his son.
But Romina already has a live-in boyfriend and Luke has no real money making skills.
So he makes the fateful decision to rob a bank which puts him on a collision course with Bradley Cooper as Avery, an ambitious cop who also has an infant son.
Avery makes a couple of life changing decisions himself. The lesser one is telling the local police chief that his colleagues asked him to accept some dirty money. That's when he learns that his boss is in on the whole deal.
I don't want to spoil this film by revealing too much, but I can tell you than in the final third of the film, we meet the teenage sons of these two men and see clearly how the sins of their fathers have altered their lives for the worse.
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES is an exciting and powerful drama. It's well acted and well shot, and it has a lot to say about how a sudden decision can become a person's legacy. It's the best new film I've seen this year.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first non-Caucasian to play Major League baseball, chosen by Brooklyn dodger general manager Branch Rickey because of his ability and his strong character. "42" (the number of Robinson's Dodger uniform) tells the story of that year.
Jackie Robinson: You want a player who doesn't have the guts to fight back?
Branch Rickey: No, I want a player who's got the guts not to fight back.
The film does an especially good job of showing the terrible abuse Robinson had to endure without fighting back: from other teams, from the crowds, and even from his own teammates.
Rickey and Robinson changed the game of baseball for the better and in the process they helped change our entire country. This movie does them proud.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.