The Greatest Game Ever Played
Based on the book with the same name, this true-to-life drama directed by Bill Paxton is set in the early 1900s and traces the early life of Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf), who was born into a common working man’s family. Living next to a golf course, he works as a caddie and learns the game better than most, but golf was a “gentleman’s game,” and caddies were not allowed to play on the course. When he finally gets an opportunity to play, permission is given by his father (Elias Koteas) to play on the condition that he agree to give up the game if he does not qualify for the tournament. Despite prejudice and his father’s discouragement, he overcomes great odds and continues to pursue the game, with his mother’s (Marnie McPhail) blessing. When Francis shoots one of the lowest scores in the country club’s history, he gets a chance to play in the U.S. Open against the greatest golfers in the world.
This film is easily one of the top five movies of the year. It’s also the best golf film I have ever seen (sorry “Happy” fans). It is also one of the greatest underdog stories ever told. Shia LaBeouf delivers an excellent performance, one which shows he is ready to be one of Hollywood’s next great actors. Stephen Dillane also gives a strong performance as the great Harry Vardon. Josh Flitter, who plays Francis Ouimet’s young caddie, Eddie, keeps the audience laughing with his quick one-liners and advice for Francis. “The Greatest Game Ever Played” is a must see film.
“This is a film you can bring your grandson and your grandfather to see,” writer Mark Frost told me in a recent interview. I have to agree with his statement. Other than minimal drinking, and a couple offensive words, this film is safe for the entire family. Also, you don’t have to understand golf, or even like it, to enjoy this movie. In fact, some may not even remember that it’s a golf or sports movie after they see it, because the story is so captivating. Francis Ouimet may have been forgotten before this film, but now his story will never be forgotten. If you can only schedule one thing for this weekend, I highly recommend seeing this film.