Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 25
    If your film is as downbeat and deflated as this one, you had better be leading up to a more interesting insight than, "The older I get, the more I know that I don't know anyone."
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. ChadS.
    Apr 18, 2007
    A post-it near the beer, in the refrigerator that holds the beer, reminds Ray(Nick Nolte), who is always engaged in full-hangover mode, how he self-imposed on himself a three-beer limit. Our assumption is that he means per-day, but by the looks of this ramshackle umpire, per-hour seems just as likely. "Off the Black" is about an off-the-field friendship between a young man and an ump, fraught with the vaguest sexual tension lurking beneath its father-son dynamic. Ray isn't the Brian Cox character from Michael Cuesta's "L.I.E.", and yet "Off the Black" surprises us with its relevation about the receiver of his homemade movies. And then there's Dave(Trevor Morgan), who reveals himself as having an ambiguous sexual orientation, in a pivotal scene, where he registers not the slightest interest in a girl seated next to him during class(she's pretty enough, and he pays her no mind). But most crucial of all, look closely at Dave as he learns about the buried particulars in Ray's past at the umpire's class reunion. Is Dave hurt? If you want, "Off the Black" can simply be just a heartwarming motion picture about a lonely, old man and his younger charge, who both strike up a symbiotic relationship that is advantageous, yet unethical, as it pertains to the integrity of baseball(ask any fan, it's wrong). But what "Off the Black" really wants to say lies in its gay subtext(that is, if you think it exists), which states(with three snaps in a zig-zag motion): if you don't think there are any gay athletes in sports, think again. When Ray throws Dave out at his home; that their relationship has come to an impasse, he tells his fake boy, "Any father would be proud to have a son like you." This line is either heartbreaking(to Dave if he's gay, and Ray is clueless), or poignant(if Ray knows and loves him like a son anyway). Nolte, looking like he's in a perpetual alcoholic haze, makes gauging the implicit meaning of his complement impossible. Full Review »
  2. DanielleR.
    Dec 11, 2006
    It made me laugh and cry.
  3. Matt
    Dec 7, 2006
    Great movie. Nolte's crazy-brilliant!