Directed by: Jason Connery
Starring: Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden, Ophelia Lovibond, and Sam Neill
Run Time: 1h 57min
Genre: Drama, Sport
3 1/2 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
Director Jason Connery, son of actor Sean Connery, is usually in front of the camera. Appearing in over seventy films, he now has five directing credits to his name. Tommy’s Honour, a piece about the birth of the golf pro of today, is his latest achievement. Appearing in Film Festivals across the globe, the Phoenix Film Festival being one of them where it had the honour of closing the fest, it’s getting great buzz and as it’s now at a theatre near you, I must recommend you see it. It’s an engaging movie with history about the evolution of the professional golfer and in my opinion; you don’t have to be a fan of the game to enjoy the spirit within the movie. Interestingly enough, the players went from being paid employees, hired to play the game for rich men who bet on the winners, to then playing on their own terms… and it would not have been possible if not for Young Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) who made it happen.
At the time Tommy was the best player, one that the members of the club St. Andrews for whom he played, could always count on. He, well aware of his skills and knowledge of the game, refused to continue to play and only take home a small percentage of his own winnings. Not appreciating how the men of St. Andrews have always treated his father Old Tom, (Peter Mullan), he rejects the idea of ending up like his dad, crawling around on the ground setting up Tees for men who only looked down at him. Tommy decides it’s time to redesign how players are seen and how the game is played and with one game he does just that. Shocking every man in the club, especially Alexander Boothby (Sam Neil), he makes some requests that the members deny, fearing that next Tommy will expect to be called a Gentleman and demand entrance through the sacred door.
Tom, greenskeeper at St. Andrews, who’s responsible for establishing many of the game’s rules as well as making their balls and clubs, is fine with his station in life. When Tommy suggests rising above it, he gets a little nervous. Being a much better course designer these days than player, Tom is no longer asked to play; therefore he can no longer bring home the extra money his family needs. Having his son around to help run things and support the family has always been the plan. What starts concerning Tom, even more, is that at the time Tommy decides to carve his own path in golf, he also meets a woman, Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), who he falls instantly in love. Now his parents worry that he, along with this woman they do not trust, will destroy his future… and theirs.
What accent heavy dialogue you can make out in Tommy’s Honour, (you’re likely to miss a few words here and there so it’s worth mentioning), will affect you. It’s a thought-provoking and compelling story. With the characters being set up so well, you root for Young Tommy right away and want him to achieve his goals and prosper. You also feel for his family but when Meg enters the scene that may start to turn. As previously mentioned, Tommy has never been encouraged to dream or to love but he does now. With what he has achieved and where he sees his future heading, he insists on being his own man, no matter who likes it or who doesn’t. Suddenly, a sports movie about Tommy planning to tour different courses collecting his winnings and forever changing the face of the game turns into a heavy drama. Be prepared when it does… that’s all I’ll say about that.
Ophelia Lovibond is fabulous as she faces Tommy’s unforgiving mother and Peter Mullan expresses Old Tom impressively through not only dialogue but his face, especially when he sees his actions has cost him so much. This is an incredible cast in a wonderful story. See it playing in Phoenix at the theatres listed below or at a theatre near you, today.