Tommy’s Honour

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Not many golf movies come to mind. I enjoyed Tin Cup (Kevin Costner). It’s about time Ron Shelton (who gave us the sports movies Best of Times, White Men Can’t Jump, Bull Durham, Play it to the Bone, Cobb, The Great White Hype) write another sports movie.

Of course we got the two classic, crazy golf comedies — Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore.

There’s a terrific golf documentary called The Short Game (produced by Justin Timberlake).

I believe The Legend of Bagger Vance was a golf movie, but I was lucky enough to miss that one.

Sean Connery’s son Jason, an actor and director (The Philly Kid, 51, Pandemic, The Devil’s Tomb), is behind the camera for this interesting, albeit low-key, sports bio-pic.

As someone that’s never golfed, and has trouble just getting passed the windmill in miniature golf, I can still appreciate the highlights on TV; or a good story. This one, about 19th century “Young” Tom Morris of Scotland, is certainly worthy of a movie. Their story helped increased popularity in the sport and in many ways changed the game.

The elder Tom Morris is called one of the founding fathers. He was the head greenskeeper at St. Andrews, and also the winner of the Open Championship. As a greenskeeper, he has lines to his son about how he is a caddy, and his kid will be the son of a caddy. Even spectators comment on how much the young Tom is growing, and how he’ll make a great caddy someday. Of course, he wants more for himself and his family. Will he get that? Will he surpass the talent his father had for the game? Take a wild guess.

Old Tom designed courses and golf clubs, and was a terrific teacher for his son.

The cast is great. Jack Lowden is Young Tom, Peter Mullan is Young Tom. Throw in Sam Neill as St. Andrew’s Captain Alexander Boothby…and things are looking good.

Young Tom wants to be a pro. His dad is from a time where you’re born into what you’re born into.

Of course, there’s also a love story. Meg Drinnen (Ophelia Lovibond) is somebody that mum (Therese Bradley) isn’t fond of.

There’s an interesting relationship with a competitor. It reminded me of the rivalry in the race car movie Rush.

At times this is a bit slow. Of course, golf fans won’t feel that way, but many others might. Yet I appreciate the fact that the filmmakers didn’t feel the need to throw in a lot of fictional stuff just to make the movie more exciting. It’s amazing how many bio-pics do that.

A few of the details thrown in felt forced, as if they want to educate us on certain rules or the importance of the Morris family to the game. Perhaps that’s necessary since most people won’t know what they may be talking about. It sometimes doesn’t feel natural, though.

If you don’t mind a sports movie that’s a bit more low-key, you should seek this out. It’s playing at the Angelika Film Center.

3 stars out of 5.