The Phenom (film)

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The Phenom
The Phenom poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNoah Buschel
Produced byJeff Rice
Jeff Elliott
Written byNoah Buschel
StarringJohnny Simmons
Yul Vazquez
Sophie Kennedy Clark
Paul Giamatti
Ethan Hawke
Music byAleks de Carvalho
CinematographyRyan Samul
Best Pitcher
Bron Capital Partners
Crystal Wealth
Distributed byRLJ Entertainment
Release date
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Phenom is a 2016 American sports drama film written and directed by Noah Buschel, starring Johnny Simmons, Paul Giamatti, and Ethan Hawke. The film was released on June 24, 2016, by RLJ Entertainment.


A talented young pitcher struggles to throw strikes; the major league club sends him to a sports psychologist, where memories of his abusive father come to light.



The Phenom was shot primarily in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] Principal photography wrapped on December 20, 2014.[2] Hawke had previously considered taking a part in Buschel's second film, 2007's Neal Cassady, and the two became friendly after that.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

On the film-review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a positive rating of 78% based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's consensus is, "Powerfully acted and emotionally affecting, The Phenom proves a baseball movie can step away from the mound and still deliver a heater down the middle."[4] The Village Voice said, "The Phenom is the baseball movie Robert Altman never made. Simmons is a wonder."[5] The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "suffused with insight and intelligence," adding, "the film is another noteworthy effort from the writer/director of such intriguing if unfortunately little-seen dramas as Glass Chin and Sparrows Dance."[6] The Los Angeles Times called it "an unusual and affecting baseball drama where nearly all the action is internal."[7] Kyle Smith of the New York Post wrote, "Don't let its restraint fool you: As unshowy as it is, The Phenom has an impressive collection of tools."[8] Matt Prigge of Metro New York wrote that "Noah Buschel might be one of indies' most interesting filmmakers, all the more so because he doesn't belong to any easily promotable group or even genre."[9] Nick Allen of wrote, "A welcome surprise for sports cinema."[10]


The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2016;[11] the film was released on June 24, 2016, by RLJ Entertainment.[12]


  1. ^ Jake Luis Garza, “FSHN Sits Down with Noah Buschel, Director of ‘Glass Chin’,” FSHN, 2015.
  2. ^ Jeremy Kay, “Conquistador boards The Phenom for EFM,” Screen International, February 3, 2015.
  3. ^ Michael Dunaway, “Ethan Hawke Messes With Your Mind,” Paste, January 15, 2015.
  4. ^ The Phenom (2016) at Rotten Tomatoes.
  5. ^ Serena Donadoni, "Noah Buschel's Baseball Drama 'The Phenom' Is an Ace You Can Count On," The Village Voice, June 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Frank Scheck, "'The Phenom': Film Review," The Hollywood Reporter, June 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Noel Murray, "'The Phenom' effectively dramatizes baseball's mind games," Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Kyle Smith, "In ‘Phenom,’ a pitcher has the worst problem a pitcher can have," New York Post, June 23, 2016.
  9. ^ Matt Prigge, "'The Phenom' is an unusually stripped-down indie about baseball," Metro New York, June 24, 2016.
  10. ^ Nick Allen, "The Phenom,", June 24, 2016.
  11. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (2016-04-15). "[Watch] Ethan Hawke Takes Tough Love Too Far In 'The Phenom'". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  12. ^ Mia Galuppo. "Ethan Hawke's Baseball Movie 'The Phenom' Nabbed by RLJ Entertainment for the U.S." The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-09-03.

External links[edit]