Trouble with the Curve



Teen-friendly baseball drama raises father-daughter issues.
  • Review Date: September 18, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 111 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Several worthwhile messages. For example: You can rely all you want on gadgets and technology, but nothing can replace wisdom acquired with experience and acumen. Also, parent-child relationships can be a minefield of disappointments and triumphs, but forgiveness and communication can help you create a new bond in adulthood. Also, find work you love, and passion will always be a part of your work.

Positive role models

Gus is crotchety and difficult, but he's dedicated to his craft and loves his daughter fiercely, even if he doesn't often show it in ways she can decipher. Mickey can be withholding and impatient, but she's also smart and successful, and she perseveres and rises above her resentments when her father's welfare is on the line. While she's portrayed as "emotionally unavailable" it's not because she's successful but more because of the abandonment issues she has from her father. Despite their dysfunctional relationship, Gus believes in her and is supportive of her ability to succeed in more "male" pursuits, whether it's becoming a partner in her law firm or becoming a sports agent.


A man breaks a beer bottle and uses it as a weapon against another patron at a bar; also, earlier in his life, he beat up another man due to a potential assault on a child, strangling him until he passed out.


Kissing and flirting; two adults take a dip in a lake in their skivvies. An early scene goes into detail of the effects of aging on a man's ability to pee.


One "f--k," plus fairly infrequent use of words including "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "crap," "douchebag," "hell," "damn," "crap," "goddamn," "oh my God," "suck," and "piss."


Products/labels shown include Schlitz, Pabst, Budweiser, Spam, Buick, Ford, Jack Daniels, Coca-Cola, Apple, Dell, Toshiba, and more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many scenes show adults drinking -- beer, whiskey, tequila -- sometimes to numb their pain. One character smokes a cigar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Trouble with the Curve -- a carefully rendered portrait of a baseball scout (Clint Eastwood) facing the possible end of his career -- pulls no punches in portraying what life on the road can do to a father and his daughter. Expect some intense conversation about past disappointments and tragedies, as well as lots of beer drinking, some profanity (including one "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch"), kissing/flirting, and one intense fight. Teen baseball fans may enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at talent scouting, but the themes are likely to resonate most with adults.

What's the story?

Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) may just be the best scout that baseball's ever seen. He can tell whether a pitcher is golden by the sound that the ball makes when it hits a glove. He can tell whether a hitter is worth a contract by how his arm looks at rest. Consider him, if you will, the baseball player whisperer. Gus has worked for the Atlanta Braves for decades, but in life -- especially in fatherhood -- his batting average is in the dumps. His lawyer daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), can't climb over the wall that's wedged between them, even though each has been all the other has had since Gus' wife died when Mickey was just 6. Meanwhile, the business of baseball is changing, and the Braves' management is under pressure to cave to the "modern" way of assessing picks: via computers and statistics. And it definitely doesn't help that Gus' eyes might be failing. Is this his last strike?

Is it any good?


The best baseball movies mimic the poetry and thoughtfulness of the game, mixing the thrill of a strike with the languor of waiting for the bases to be loaded. TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE hits these marks and then some, exploring not just the intricacies of the game -- why a drifting arm might spell doom, for instance -- but also those of a trenchant father-daughter relationship that deserves mending. Eastwood is (no surprise) pitch-perfect as curmudgeonly sage, but it's Adams who surprisingly, mightily stands up to the icon, mixing grit and vulnerability like a champ. Justin Timberlake shows up in a supporting romantic role, which, though inoffensive and even somewhat charming, seems unnecessary except to forward the plot.

The movie's flashbacks edge on stagey, and the most powerful moments are sometimes muted, which is a shame. But fans of the stars and the sport may be able to overlook these digressions. Trouble with the Curve is no home run, but it's on its game nonetheless.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie presents the central father-daughter relationship. Is it realistic? Understandable? How do Gus and Mickey compare to other movie fathers and daughters?

  • Is Gus a good father? What is the movie saying about fatherhood (and/or parenthood in general)?

  • Baseball movies often seem rife with life lessons. Why do you think that is? Do you have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a movie about it?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 21, 2012
DVD release date:December 18, 2012
Cast:Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake
Director:Robert Lorenz
Studio:Warner Bros.
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Great girl role models
Run time:111 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking

This review of Trouble with the Curve was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old September 23, 2012

Trouble with the Curve: One of the BEST Baseball Movies Ever!!

This movie was great! It inst for younger kids though. There is A LOT of language and a brief intense fight scene and a couple makes out. A character smokes in almost every scene and characters drink in a few occasions. Overall this movie is DEFINITELY worth going to see!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 4, 9, and 12 year old Written bylanefoard September 24, 2012

Not Exactly a "Baseball Movie"

I pre-screened this movie because my 12 and 9 year old sons had heard quite of bit of advertising for it while listening to Atlanta Braves broadcasts. My suspicions of this not really being a "baseball movie" but instead a movie that roughly uses baseball as a backdrop for some heavy-theme drama were confirmed. Had I taken my sons, they would've likely been disappointed and would've probably felt a little fooled/mislead by the trailers and marketing. It is a little interesting to see a troubled father/daughter relationship play out in front of you, but it's the kind of thing a 30-year-old daughter (with years of life experience) can relate to (not a pre-teen or even a teen). And then (spoiler alert), the late-in-the-movie flashback introduction of Clint walking in on his daughter being sexually abused as the explanation for his lifelong behavior toward his daughter is a theme (while an important life theme) that would have further sullied my sons' movie experience. I'm fairly liberal when it comes my kids' exposures as long as an appropriate conversation precedes or follows them, but I just don't want other families to take their baseball-loving young kids to see this movie, only to walk out awkwardly saying, "Well, sorry Ricky, that wasn't exactly what we thought it was going to be, huh?"
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bydavidrox January 24, 2013


A very good movie, mixed with heart, but lots of language and drinking. Amy Adams, and Clint Eastwood star in this wonderful uplifting drama. however it is not a baseball film, even if contains baseball in its plotline. it more focuses on the relationship of father and daughter, and fixing it, before its ruined forever. lots of language, lots of b*****, one F bomb, lots of s***, d***, ect. not much violence, one scene where Clint breaks a beer bottle and uses it as a weapon. not much sexual content, but lots of drinking and smoking. My MPAA Rating is: PG-13 For language, and brief sexual situations. i suggest 14 and up can see this.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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