A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Mile in His Shoes is a Christian-themed baseball story about an autistic 18-year-old named Mickey who learns to be a winning pitcher in the minor leagues. The film goes to great lengths to show how Mickey perceives and comprehends the world around him, and on the whole, Mickey is presented with dignity and humanity. There is one minor instance where a player pulls a prank on Mickey, but the other players like Mickey for who he is and stand up for him. There is also a scene where Mickey is jumped by two men in masks in a park and punched in the face. Still, on the whole, A Mile in His Shoes is a wholesome baseball movie about compassion and understanding for those who are a little bit different from most.
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What's the story?
In A MILE IN HIS SHOES, Coach Murph (Dean Cain) is the manager of a minor league team in Ohio that has yet to win a game this season. When the owner sends Murph to Indiana to scout a pitcher, his car ends up in a ditch. When he gets out, he makes the acquaintance of Mickey Tussler (Luke Schroder), a boy living on a nearby farm who has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. When Murph arrives at the farm to call AAA, he sees Mickey throw apples at a washtub, and believes that with the right training, Mickey has the abilities to be a great pitcher. He convinces Mickey's strict and skeptical parents to let him take Mickey back to Ohio with him, where Murph must be patient and understanding as he learns to understand Asperger's Syndrome and the myriad ways it affects Mickey. The players must do the same, and as Mickey starts to pitch and win, one of the players, a pitcher named Lefty, concocts a scheme to try and get Mickey off the team and sent back to the farm.
Is it any good?
The film succeeds, even though the filmmakers had to stretch the story sometimes to make it work. One instance was having the rival manager bail the antagonist out of jail so he can pitch against his former team in the inevitable climactic championship game. A Mile in His Shoes is a Thomas Kinkade (the "Painter of Light") production, and is clearly striving to be a wholesome baseball movie that encourages compassion and understanding toward the character with Asperger's Syndrome. Characters generally treat Mickey (the pitcher with Asperger's) with a great deal of patience and understanding and consider him a friend and teammate. The acting is above average for productions like these, and is not the heavyhanded production some might expect, even with the occasional Christian and biblical themes and references.
As the title implies, the movie goes to great lengths to make the viewer empathetic to Mickey's perceptions and understandings of the world around him. Flashbacks and internal point-of-view go far to help people to understand Mickey and Asperger's. Even though the climax is fairly predictable, it is this sense of empathy that has viewers rooting for Mickey and the team who brought him into the fold without judgment or scorn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how A Mile in His Shoes is similar to and different than other sports movies. What are some standard conventions that often appear in sports movies like these?
How accurately does this film reflect the realities of someone with Asperger's Syndrome? How are people with disabilities or who are "different" usually treated in TV and movies?
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