It may be too tall an order for any filmmaker to fill, but this heartfelt Scottish attempt to deal with the popularity of golf in the 20th century tries too hard. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
Directed by Sean Connery’s son, Jason Connery, “Tommy’s Honour” sets out to tell the story of how golf became a sports phenomenon in the 20th century.
Sean and Jason go way back as fans, and the movie feels heartfelt and genuine, if a little scattered. The story, based on fact, was filmed entirely in Scotland, where the events took place. But the plot tries too hard to incorporate elements that drift toward melodrama.
Jack Lowden is exceptionally well-cast as the roguish hero, young Tom Morris, who surpasses his father on the links. Ophelia Lovibond is passionate as the love of his life. But his mother’s dramatic disapproval of their wedding seems one-note harsh.
Movie Review ★★
‘Tommy’s Honour,’ with Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden. Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Neill. Directed by Jason Connery, from a screenplay by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook, based on the 2007 book “The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris: Golf’s Founding Father and Son” by Cook. 112 minutes. Rated PG for thematic elements and suggestive material. Several theaters.
Sam Neill is more convincing in a menacing stock villain role, while Peter Mullan brings depth to the underwritten character of the older Tom Morris.
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“Tommy’s Honour” rarely finds a way to make golf seem exciting on film. Robert Redford’s “The Legend of Bagger Vance” didn’t score so well in that department either. It may be an impossible challenge.