Trouble with the Curve – Review

Trouble with the Curve is at it’s heart a movie about a broken relationship between a father and his daughter and a road trip that forces them to work on it.  Gus’s wife died young, leaving him alone to raise their daughter , Mickey.  Mickey loved going on the road with her Dad, as he scouted out baseball prospects.  It all seemed to be going well, until Gus quit taking Mickey along for no apparent reason. 

Decades later, Mickey is still trying to deal with the pain of what she felt was her father’s rejection.  His ailing eyesight gives her cause to go on one last road trip with him and help him with his job (not that he wants it).  It’s on this road trip that they finally talk about the past and Mickey finally hears the truth, a very different truth than what she had imagined; a truth that still haunts Gus’s dreams with fear.

All those years ago, Gus and Mickey were scouting somewhere.  It was late after the game.  Gus suddenly realized Mickey wasn’t with him and he set off in search of her.  He found her, but she wasn’t alone.  A man was with her, and his intentions were clearly perverted.  In his fear and rage, Gus (rather understandably) beat the man to a pulp.  It was immediately after this that Gus sent his daughter away.  Even though nothing happened, he blamed himself for bringing his daughter into a dangerous environment.  That was not the life he wanted for his daughter. 

It was, however, the life his daughter wanted for herself.  Not that she understood the dangers—she never knew what had almost happened that night.  What she wanted though, was a life with her daddy.  He wanted to protect her from a life “in the cheap seats” with himself, as he saw it.  But in her eyes, there was nothing cheap about a seat with her Daddy—wherever that seat might be. 

So there you have it –as story as old as time.  A miscommunication between a man and a woman, a father and a daughter:  he tried to do the right thing to protect her, she felt rejected.   He was sacrificing for her, but she felt he wasn’t fighting for her.  At the heart of it all is a man acting out of fear. 

The Bible is full of stories like this.  It’s full of dysfunctional families and misunderstandings, but Trouble with the Curve made me think of one story in particular, a story about a man and his wife in Genesis 12.  Abram and Sarai were married and living in a foreign land (Egypt, to be exact) due to a severe drought in their homeland.  Sarai was beautiful though, and it scared Abram.  He told his wife, “12When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”  Abram’s fear caused to him to make his wife do something pretty dumb.   

Abram was right about one thing, the Egyptians did think Sarai was beautiful.  So beautiful, in fact, that Pharaoh took her into his palace as one of his wives.  Why wouldn’t he?  He thought she was single…because she and Abram lied to everyone and said that he was her brother instead of her husband.

I cannot imagine how Sarai must have felt.  Her husband gave her to be Pharaoh’s wife to save his own life (which he didn’t even know for sure would be in danger).  How weak he must have seemed to her.  How insulting and devastating to find out that your husband valued his own life more than yours.  How horrific to have to go into another man’s bed, and even more terrifying to know that if you displeased him your life could be at stake.  Can you imagine the pain of your husband essentially pimping you out so that he would feel safe? 

In the end, God defended Sarai when her husband would not. 

The Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

I think there are two important things to take from this story.  The first is the lesson Abram had to learn—fear is not a good place to make decisions from.  When we react to fear, we aren’t dealing with truth or reason, and generally we end up hurting the very people we want to protect.  Fear causes overreaction.   Gus overreacted and sent Mickey away (to boarding school, I think it was).  His fear was so palpable he never discussed or explained anything to Mickey which caused years of unnecessary pain in her life.  Not only that, but his fear kept him awake at night for decades after.  It wasn’t good for either of them. 

In the case of Abram, his fearful actions were first of all sinful.  He lied and asked his wife to lie too.  Secondly, they put an innocent man (Pharaoh) in a compromising and embarrassing position.  Thirdly, his actions showed no honor or value to his wife.  And most of all, his actions were an affront to God because they were evidence that Abram didn’t trust Him to protect them, but rather felt he had to take matters into his own hands.

The other important take away is for the “victim”, the person who is hurt by someone else’s actions.  God sees and God can be trusted, no matter what man may do.  Sarai’s husband may have put her in a compromising situation, but God was her ultimate protector and defender, and He was fully capable of intervening and getting her out of there. 

For Mickey, it took a while longer, but eventually the truth came out, and there was healing in the truth.  She was not rejected by her father as she supposed.  He really was trying to do what was best for her, even if his methods were misguided.  I grant you, Mickey wasn’t exactly looking to God for the answers, but nevertheless, the principle is true, that often our wounds are more a result of misunderstanding than mal-intent.  It is also true that God is a God of truth and as we look to Him, we will find Truth and healing for the wounds that pain us.  I’m not going to say how God may choose to help you heal, or when or how long He may take about it, who can know or understand His ways?  I will simply leave it that if you bring your hurt to God, He can be trusted with it.  He will be your strength.  He will be your champion and deliverer.  He will fight for you when others fail you.  He will defend you and bring the light of truth to all the dark corners of your heart. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • Have you ever reacted in fear in a way that hurt someone else?
  • How have you been hurt in your relationships with other people?  Are any of those possibly because someone else was acting in fear and their fearful actions affected you negatively?
  • If you could really trust God with everything that you are afraid of, how would it change way you live, the decisions you make, the ways you treat other people?  (Think about this question…it’s a BIG one.)
  • If you could really trust God to defend you when someone else has hurt your or put you in a comprising situation, how would it change the way you approach your situation and your pain?
  • Do you have any painful relationships that might actually be a result of miscommunication, rather than mal-intent?  Is there anything you can do to get to the truth?

Click here to see quotes from Trouble with the Curve.

 By Stacey Tuttle