For all the sadness and loss in Stealing Home, the story of how a privileged boy’s love for playing baseball is gone with the sudden death of his father, the film remains too remote emotionally to elicit more than a sigh of relief at its conclusion.
In suburban Philadelphia of big homes and summer beach houses most of the kids are like Billy Wyatt (played at 10, teenage and 38 by Thacher Goodwin, William McNamara and Mark Harmon respectively) and his pal Alan Appleby (Jonathan Silverman, Harold Ramis). Around for valuable lessons on how to grow up fast is the wayward and rebellious Katie (Jodie Foster), the family friends’ daughter and the irresponsible babysitter that becomes for Billy a mentor, lover and tragic figure.
For Billy, baseball takes priority. It’s something he breathes for and something he cherishes sharing with his equally fanatical baseball-loving dad (John Shea).
Foster’s complex and confused character would have been the better choice upon which to center this melodrama. The actress is perfect for the part and, along with Ramis’ warm and funny short screen time as the adult Alan, brings whatever emotional energy there is to the proceedings.