Posts Tagged ‘Old Tom Morris’

TOMMY’S HONOUR: 3 STARS. “a stately, traditionally made film.”

Long before Sergio García, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer became the people most associated with the game of golf a father and son team were the most famous names on the fairway. A new film, “Tommy’s Honour,” lionizes Tom Morris (known as Old Tom and played by Peter Mullan) and Tommy Morris (Young Tom, played by Jack Lowden) as the founders of the modern game.

Based on the book “Tommy’s Honour: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf’s Founding Father and Son” and brought to the screen by Jason Connery, the film takes place against a backdrop of nineteenth century class struggle. Old Tom is the greenskeeper of Scotland’s St. Andrews Links, the largest golf complex in Europe. He is a traditionalist, a man accepting of his place in society. Not so his oldest son Tommy. A golf prodigy, he has a healthy disregard for authority and an eye toward doing things his way. He refuses to accept his lot in life—become a caddy and then one day, perhaps, work his way up to greenskeeper. His talent and arrogance win out, however, and even though championship play was reserved for the wealthy he went on to become (and still remains), at age 17, the youngest ever winner of what is now known as the British Open.

Flushed with success he demands a larger share of his winnings, butting heads with upper crust types like St. Andrews club captain Alexander Boothby (Sam Neill). Personally he defies his religious mother by dating Meg Drinnen (Ophelia Lovibond), an older woman with a scandalous past.

Showdowns, both personal and professional, follow as “Tommy’s Honour” explores the sport and societal norms of the time.

The best sports movies are never really about the sport and “Tommy’s Honour” is no different. Golf supplies the backdrop for an examination of the social shift of the game, from a gentleman’s past time to a game for (almost) everyone. It’s a class study with plenty of melodrama and father-and-son clashes that should supply some level of interest to non-golf fans.

Director Connery is workmanlike in his presentation of the story, preferring to simply document the performances rather than clutter the screen with fancy editing or swooping crane shots of St. Andrews. It’s a stately, traditionally made film about a radical change to the game.

Mullan hits a hole in one as Old Tom, bringing gravitas and fire to the role. Lowden is a fresh-faced find, a charismatic actor who carries the movie.

“Tommy’s Honour” succeeds because of its subtext, the underlying investigation of social mores of the day told through one family’s story and their influence on the game of golf.

“Tommy’s Honour” Q&A and golf chat with director Jason Connery

Richard hosted a screening of the historical golf drama “Tommy’s Honour” with director Jason Connery at the Oakville Cineplex. Hear an in-depth conversation between the two on the Richard Crouse Show on NewsTalk 1010 at 9 pm on Saturday May 6.

More on the film from wikipedia: “In St Andrews, Scotland in 1866, 15-year-old Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) is an avid golfer like his legendary and pioneering father, Tom Morris (Peter Mullan). “Old Tom” is greens-keeper for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as well as the town’s club- and ball-maker. He is the two-time winner of the first major golf tournament, The Open Championship, which he founded in 1860. He also established golf’s standard of 18 holes per round. But young Tommy is beginning to chafe at his father’s dictates, especially in the rapidly changing world they live in.

“Tommy soon outshines his father, winning The Open three times in a row while still in his teens. The “dashing young man of golf”, he draws flocks of spectators to the sport and becomes its first touring professional.

“Father and son repeatedly clash over the unwritten rules of social class, and this culminates when Tommy marries his sweetheart Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a woman of lower standing with a shameful secret in her past. As the story concludes, Old Tom makes a fatal misjudgement that strips Tommy of everything he holds dear. Following the results of that fateful choice, Old Tom takes on a personal mission that carries him through the final decades of his life: that of honouring his son Tommy.”