Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. This one slice of the American experience amounts to one of the best films of the year.
  2. A baseball movie, a stranger-in-a-strange-land movie, a movie about real people facing real challenges in the real world, Sugar is all that and more.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sugar is that sweetest of films: A sensitive and memorable story that surprises at every turn.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    In its unhurried fashion, Sugar can take its place with the best baseball movies. Where most focus on the grand slam, this one's about the life that surrounds the game and everything that comes after.
  5. 100
    It is both sad and hopeful, but the film's sorrow and its optimism arise from its rarest and most thrilling quality, which is its deep and humane honesty.
  6. 100
    A film of rare intelligence, beauty and compassion.
  7. As the film plays out its melancholy story, we realize that what we are watching is far rarer than the usual sports flick.
  8. 90
    A moving, surprising and provocative baseball flick that rises immediately to No. 1 with a bullet on my personal list.
  9. 88
    The result is raw and riveting.
  10. 88
    Algenis Perez Soto plays the character so openly, so naturally, that an interesting thing happens: Baseball is only the backdrop, not the subject. This is a wonderful film.
  11. 88
    Sugar is a near-great movie with qualities more unusual than some all-time classics. It resists cliche at every turn and puts something solid in its place: raw yet controlled observation that gives the film the form of a flexing muscle.
  12. The film's style is so ''objective'' it's a bit subdued, yet this is a sports drama of total originality, as well as the most authentic inside view of the immigrant experience the movies have given us in quite a while.
  13. 83
    There's quality, wit and emotion throughout.
  14. 83
    Instead of hitting all the usual beats, Sugar just moseys in a mostly delightful way.
  15. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    The filmmakers have mostly cast from Dominican playing fields rather than from acting studios -- Algenis Perez Soto, the accomplished first-time performer who plays Miguel Sugar Santos, was himself a teen ballplayer -- so game and practice sequences have an easy authenticity from the start.
  16. Without a trace of didacticism, Boden and Fleck portray the insidious details of exploitation and hollow American maxims.
  17. As good as it is because of the care and skill writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck bring to it, gifts that were visible in their first film, "Half Nelson," which earned a lead actor Oscar nomination for Ryan Gosling.
  18. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    The most remarkable thing Sugar does is give American viewers a sense of how our country must seem to a newly arrived immigrant, without caricaturing or condescending to either guest or host.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sympathetic, genial and exceedingly wholesome, it's a film that, once seen, will permanently and favorably influence the way viewers regard the characters' real-life counterparts.
  20. 80
    This is a drama of shifting values and compromised ideals, arriving at a view of life that's wise, complicated, and tinged with melancholy.
  21. A gripping look at the immigrant experience, with small moments as important - and visually arresting - as any on the baseball diamond.
  22. Mainly, though, the film's strength is reportorial, sensitively exploring a theme that has grown ever more prominent with the globalization of sport.
  23. The price of the production's integrity is a leisurely pace -- but it's a worthwhile one. Though Sugar demands patience, it deserves attention.
  24. A thoughtful drama about guys who have a moment in the big time before returning home to an odd reflected glory.
  25. 50
    Algenis Perez Soto was a baseball player in real life, which helps to explain his sensitive, understated performance as Sugar. But he's let down by a manipulative script recycled from dozens of sports and immigrant movies. At least it dispenses with a Hollywood ending.
  26. Sugar is a curiosity – too somber for a picaresque, too arm's-length for much emotional effect – and while it's interesting, it's never truly absorbing.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. RyanD
    Sep 1, 2009
    Was shocked they had this movie in my local Redbox. It did not disappoint. The acting is phenomenal, and the emotion is raw. The script had me constantly guessing what would happen next. A real, honest examination of life, its many paths, and the choices we make. Full Review »
  2. paigeg
    Sep 1, 2009
    Brilliant film, engaging and beautifully filmed. Also worth seeing though so the doc Road to the Big Leagues as it is the real story!
  3. MarkP
    Apr 24, 2009
    A superb, engaging, cliche busting film that is about far more than baseball. Excellent performances from non-pros, marvelous cinematography. One of the best little films of the year. Full Review »