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The Perfect Game Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The film is perfectly mediocre, which is heartbreaking, not heartwarming.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It’s not a game anymore. In 1957, these kids were playing. And it was a perfect game.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Sentimental, inspiring tale about Little League underdogs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this inspiring sports drama about a Mexican Little League team that made it all the way to the World Series is a fine pick for most kids. There are a few themes that might be too difficult for kids under 7 to understand, like the discrimination the boys face when playing in Texas or the Midwest. Because it's set in the '50s, when Jim Crow laws were still the norm in the American South, the team has to deal with "whites only" signs, being called "wetbacks" and watching the sole black player of a team eat separately from his white teammates. One of the boys has a cruel, seemingly alcoholic father grieving the death of an older son, and the coach also gets drunk after being called a "towel boy." There are also a couple of scuffles between characters, although no actual punches are thrown. There's also a strong religious theme in the film, since the kids are strict Catholics. Also, kids learn about overcoming odds, working as a team, and relying on faith when confronted with obstacles.

  • Families can talk about the David vs. Goliath theme in the film. What do the Monterrey boys have to overcome to compete in the World Series? How are the American teams "Goliath-like"?
  • Why are underdog stories so appealing? Name some of the best underdog-themed sports movies.
  • There are lots of Biblical references in the movie. How does the kids' faith affect their playing?
  • How is racism treated in the movie? Is it difficult to consider what it was like when there were "white's only" signs on bathrooms and elderly men were derisively called "colored" by white men? How did the kids react to the African American boy who must eat separately from his team? What would you have done?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids learn about the true story that the film is based on, as well as some history about Mexico, the Little League, and race in America during the 1950s.

  • message true4

    Messages: Kids learn that if they work hard and practice with discipline and determination, they can win -- even if the odds are stacked against them.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: All the boys are incredibly dedicated, sweet, and hard-working. They are faithful to their team, their families, their coach, and their faith. Father Esteban believes in the boys, even when no one else does, as does Coach Cesar (although a bit more reluctantly). Cesar chooses to respect the right for all of the boys to play, even when he's commanded to play just the "better" pitcher.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: A couple of fist-fights nearly break out -- one among adult men and one among preteen boys. A boy's death -- during a stickball game -- is recounted and alluded to several times. A father is cruel to his wife and son, and while he doesn't literally hit them, he's menacing and mean on several occasions.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: Cesar flirts chastely with Maria. Mario jokes that he knows more about girls than the coach. Enrique eyes a girl at the market.

  • language false2

    Language: Racial insults like "towel boy," "old colored man," "wetbacks," and "those Mexicans," etc. Harsh language said by a father, like "Shut him up or I'll do it myself!" and "He'll never be the son Pedro was."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Mild: Just a couple of Coke bottles, a Ford, and a Chevy.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Both the coach and Angel's father are shown either drinking or drunk. While the coach does it just once, Angel's father is shown angry, holding a bottle or glass, in a few scenes. Angel's mother confronts her husband about his drinking to no avail.