A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bottom of the 9th is a low-key baseball drama about a man (Joe Manganiello) who's paroled from prison and gets a second chance. Expect a few violent scenes, with fighting, punching, and pummeling. Three characters attack another, hitting him on the head with a bottle, and one character accidentally dies in a fight after hitting his head on a curb. There's talk of murder, screaming and yelling, threats, and temper tantrums. Language is very strong and quite frequent, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and more. Adults kiss, and the aftermath of a party includes a shot of two women sleeping on the couch. Some social drinking is shown, such as beers in a bar or empty bottles on a coffee table. This sports drama isn't without its clichés, but it's still likable and winning.
What's the story?
In BOTTOM OF THE 9TH, Sonny Stano was a promising ballplayer -- until he went to prison in 1999 for a man's accidental death during a fight. Eighteen years later, a remorseful Stano (Joe Manganiello) is paroled and returns to his Bronx neighborhood. He accepts a humiliating-to-him job packing fish and runs into his old girlfriend, Angela (Sofia Vergara), but still feels lost. Then his former Coach Hannis (Michael Rispoli) offers Sonny a job as an assistant, helping shape hotheaded young ballplayer Manny (Xavier Scott Evans). But when Stano steps up to the plate to demonstrate, it's clear that the 38-year-old still has the necessary skills. Can Stano fight the ghosts of his past to earn his second chance?
Is it any good?
This low-key, unhurried baseball drama isn't entirely free of clichés, but thanks to a handful of quietly likable characters and a genuine appreciation for baseball, it has a modest, winning charm. Manganiello could have come across as brutish, but he manages a touching level of realistic pain and uncertainty and becomes quite sympathetic. (He previously showed some of this sweetness on True Blood, in the Magic Mike movies, and in Pee-wee's Big Holiday.) Moreover, his screen chemistry with his real-life wife, Vergara, is powerful, and Rispoli turns in a fine supporting performance.
Director Raymond De Felitta, who specializes in intimate character-driven dramas set in New York, handles Bottom of the 9th's baseball material with respect, and it feels honest, even as it indulges in some familiar baseball-movie chestnuts (especially the climactic game). Bottom of the 9th sinks a bit when it falls back on silly montages, and it doesn't seem to know how to handle the character of Angela's young daughter (she's too malleable, with seemingly no free will), but overall, the movie hits its way home with enjoyable ease.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Bottom of the 9th's violence. How much was shown? How did it make you feel? Did it feel relevant to the plot?
What does the movie have to say about forgiveness? Which characters refuse to forgive Sonny, and why?
What examples of bullying are shown in the movie? How are the bullies dealt with?
Do second chances really exist? Did you ever feel like you had a second chance at something?
Why is baseball such a popular subject for movies? How does this one compare to other baseball movies you've seen?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.