You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Golf biopic merits polite applause, not wild accolades


The sports biopic “Tommy’s Honour” tells the story of 19th-century Scottish golfer Tom Morris Jr. — Tommy, or Young Tom, as he was known, to distinguish him from his father, Old Tom Morris. It’s a mildly stirring and quietly tragic tale, capably told by director Jason Connery (Sean’s son), from a screenplay by journalist-turned-screenwriter Pamela Marin and sports writer Kevin Cook, based on Cook’s award-winning 2007 book of the same name.

With a strong cast that includes Peter Mullan as the stodgy Old Tom, Jack Lowden as his brash, ambitious son and Sam Neill as the snooty head of the St. Andrews golf club, where Old Tom was head greenskeeper and caddie, the film will hold an inherent appeal for the hardcore golf-history buff. Whether there’s enough crossover interest in the story — which involves father-son clashes, a scandalous romance, class conflict and white-knuckle links drama — is dubious.

The main plot dynamic of “Tommy’s Honour” is a familial one. Old Tom, despite being an innovator in course, club and ball design, as well as a champion player, knows his lowly station in the clubby, aristocratic world of golf, while the teenage Tommy — the Tiger Woods of his day — chafes at playing for a small fraction of the money that the sport’s wealthy backers routinely make by betting on him. “A caddie’s son you are, and a caddie you’ll be,” Old Tom tells his son, when the young man announces his plans to democratize the game.

That interpersonal tension forms the spine of the film, which charts Tommy’s ascendancy in the sport, and the gradual decline of his father’s influence. Along the way, there are tidbits thrown in about the Morrises’ advancements in the design of equipment and fairways, along with the requisite scenes of Tommy’s nail-biter golf wins. A subplot focuses on the love story between Tommy and his future wife, Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a scullery maid with something of a tawdry past.

If Connery presents this all-too-familiar material in a sometimes plodding, by-the-book way, the filmmaker’s experience as an actor lends nuance to his direction of the cast members, all of whom deliver solid, grounded performances.

There’s a subdued quality to watching golf as a spectator sport, and that same quality of reserved detachment applies to this golf movie. “Tommy’s Honour” is never boring, but at best it invites a smattering of polite applause, not an upturned barrel of Gatorade.

MOVIE REVIEW

“Tommy’s Honour”

Grade: C

Starring Jack Lowden, Peter Mullan and Ophelia Lovibond. Directed by Jason Connery.

Rated PG for thematic elements, some suggestive material, language and smoking. Check listings for theaters. 1 hour, 52 minutes.

Bottom line: It’s never boring, but may hold interest mostly for those hardcore golfers



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Nintendo Switch emulator: It’s a scam, feds say
Nintendo Switch emulator: It’s a scam, feds say

Don’t slip on this banana peel, federal officials say; there is no Nintendo Switch emulator on which you can run Switch games on your desktop. “It’s a scam,” said the Federal Trade Commission. Online ads may come with Nintendo branding, but when you try to download an emulator, it can install nasty things such as phony...
Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old
Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old

Fiona — the world’s favorite prematurely born hippopotamus — turned 3 months old Monday. The early days of cuddling the tiny, fragile hippo are long gone, Jenna Wingate, the Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa keeper, told our media partner WCPO. Here are three updates about Fiona that Wingate shared with WCPO: 1. The ‘dung shower&rsquo...
Niki Phillips, 48, of Kennesaw, lost 57 pounds
Niki Phillips, 48, of Kennesaw, lost 57 pounds

Success Story Former weight: 189 pounds Current weight: 132 pounds Pounds lost: 57 pounds Height: 5 feet 8 inches Age: 48 How long she’s kept it off: She started in late 2013 and reached her current weight this month. Personal life: “I reside in Kennesaw. I am a single mom of two adult children. One is 28, and one is 24. I am part owner...
Genealogy changes over the 40 years of this column
Genealogy changes over the 40 years of this column

Looking back over the past 40 years since this column began, the changes in access to genealogical information and research sources are immense. In May 1977, when we started, genealogists had to research by visiting a records center in person, such as a county courthouse, local library, or state archives. And that visit was only after they had mined...
Elton John cancels shows following release from hospital due to infection
Elton John cancels shows following release from hospital due to infection

Singer Elton John has cancelled all of his Las Vegas shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace through May after he was sent to the Intensive Care Unit following a rare infection, according to Rolling Stone. The Colosseum at Caesars Palace issued the following statement on its Facebook page Monday: Variety reported that fans who purchased tickets...
More Stories