Timing in “Field of Dreams”

Film Aesthetics

In the art of film, there are many factors that come into developing the storyline as well as making that storyline effective in moving the viewer. Whether it is accomplished by camera angle or special effects or something as simple as timing, various aesthetics are of the utmost necessity in any successful film. In “Field of Dreams”, the aesthetic of timing is used to give the movie watcher a feel for the very essence of what makes this a great film.

Throughout “Field of Dreams”, the line between what is real and what is not is constantly blurred, especially when talking about timing. In the film, there are various characters inserted into the movie who were, at one time or another, living in a past world completely different than that of the 1980’s. In order to work these somewhat ghostly characters into the film, proper timing had to be used to make sure the story would flow correctly without requiring the viewer to go back and forth between time periods. At key times in the movie, Ray Kinsella hears voices that instruct him to accomplish various tasks. This timing is essential, because they simply would not have made sense if done in a different order or at different times in the movie. When Kinsella is told by “the voice” to “ease his pain”, he has no idea what the message means until he goes to a PTA meeting and somehow realizes whose pain he was supposed to ease.

From there, Kinsella goes to find the man he is supposed to meet with and takes him to a baseball game, at which time they are shown a message on the scoreboard. If both men were not looking at the scoreboard at the exact same time, they would have thought each other was insane and could not have remained comrades throughout the movie. When the two men unite to go find “Moonlight” Graham, they realize they are looking for a man who had died years before. On a whim, Kinsella decides to go for a walk, at which time he runs into an old man on the street that turns out to be Dr. Graham. Had he not decided to go for a walk at that exact moment, he may not have come across Graham’s ghost and the story could not have advanced much further. While it is not a particularly important point in the movie as far as the story goes, a young Graham goes to the field to live his dream of playing against baseball’s all-time greats but is forced to choose between playing ball and being a doctor when Kinsella’s daughter starts choking. Had he not come to the field, the daughter would have died, but there also would not have been any reason to have her choke without the dilemma Graham was forced to face.

As you can understand from reading this paper, the movie “Field of Dreams” could not have carried on in any way if it were not for absolutely perfect timing in the actions of the characters. In the film, the outcome of later events was completely dependent on the timing in which earlier events took place, making timing by far the most important aesthetic used in the 1980’s classic “Field of Dreams.”