The Phantom Of The Open (2021)

Quick Synopsis: Amateur golfer Maurice Flitcroft achieves his late-in-life goal of participating in the British Open Golf Championship, much to the ire of the staid golfing community.

Expected this to be either a standard sports underdog movie, or standard British Working Class, so either Cool Runnings, or The Duke. Either way, I knew what would happen, he’d be mocked by people, but then use his conventional skill set to win, or not win, but he’ll leave with his head held high and his nemesis slowly applauding him.

Yeah, it’s safe to say I lucked out by not knowing the true story about this, if I did then I would have known my preconceptions were complete bollocks. He doesn’t win, he doesn’t really do well, he isn’t respected by the world, and he isn’t rich and famous. To see how hard he tries, and what it leads to, will hurt you. Not as much as it should though. Don’t get me wrong, it does get VERY emotional towards the end, but it feels like it could have hit harder. His wife’s defence of him feels like it originally went on much longer and then was heavily cut down, it feels like it’s build-up, like she’s starting a wonderful speech, but then the film cuts her off, but still has the same result. It’s the emotional equivalent of if you did a film about Churchill, distilled his entire speech down to “We shall fight them at the beaches”, and then still having everybody applaud.

It’s a shame as that section of the film has some truly emotional moments, just a few sentences away from being better. The emotion is helped by the performances, Mark Rylance is his usual brilliant self, as is Sally Hawkins. Rhys Ifans seems a bit too similar to Michael Smiley and I felt for sure it actually was him until I saw the credits.

There are a few things that annoyed me though. There are a few characters who are introduced and then seemingly forgotten about. What annoyed me most though was the dream sequences. I don’t know whether they were the choice of the screenwriter or the director but tonally it does not work and they feel like they belong in a different movie. There are some character moments that feel a bit out of place, like they’re just happening to move the plot forward. It also doesn’t do too great a job of making you FEEL like you’re back in that time.

Overall, a film you probably will enjoy, but it won’t be among your favourites.

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