|By Mira Harber
The time is the start of the Depression (1928), the place is Savannah,
Ga. Adele (Charlize Theron) is about to lose it all if she doesn't
take a big risk. Her father built one of the greatest golf courses in the
country, but his timing is terrible with the advent of the Depression,
and he shoots & kills himself. Adele bets it all by hosting a golf
tournament featuring the two best players of the day, Walter Hagan (Bruce
McGill) & Bobby Jones (Joel Gretsch) and a local boy Rannulph Junuh
(Matt Damon) who was once a great golf star in the South. The prize is
an amazing amount for a exhibition tournament - $10,000.
These men represent three distinct types of men, of a way of playing golf,
and of living life. Bobby Jones was considered to be one of the greatest
golfers that ever lived. He was grace in motion, and made a difficult thing
look easy, and something easy look even easier. He was a gentleman and
family man. Walter Hagan was just the opposite. He would shoot three terrible
shots, and then one brilliant one. He was a carouser & womanizer. Both
men realized that golf was not only a game, but an entertainment, and they
provided plenty of that.
I don't play golf, and this movie really isn't about golf. It is about
how to live your life & how to find follow your true self. This movie
is remarkably subtle and sensitive - it doesn't beat you on the head, but
it's points are well and truly made.” Golf is a game that can't be won,
Golden boy Matt Damon goes
off to war (WW1) and loses himself. He returns to Savannah - not to the
life he once knew of ease, wealth and love (Adele was his lover)- rather
he drinks and plays cards and has withdrawn from his former life. That
is until he is drawn into a Golf Tournament with the two greatest players
of the time. As he considers playing in this tournament, he realizes that
he has "lost his swing."
A mysterious man appears. Bagger Vance (Will Smith) offers to be his caddy
for the princely sum of $5. He gives him support and spiritual guidance
-is this man real, a spirit or a fantasy? No matter, he is terrific in
what could have been a totally cornball performance. Instead, Bagger Vance
is inspiring and helps Junuh find himself again while finding his 'true,
All of the actors are excellently played and cast in this film particularly
the newcomer J. Michael Moncreif who plays Hardy Greaves, a local 12 year
old who has stars in his eyes and loves the game of golf his entire life.
He is played entirely believably & beautifully. No false notes here.
The two famous golfers, Hagan & Jones, are played by actors who both
physically & temperamentally resemble the real men to a remarkable
Charlize Theron as the heroine
Adele brings 1940's glamour to her part. She is every bit the gorgeous
movie star, and a very good actress too. Her career is on the upswing,
and justly so. Matt Damon does a very credible job - not too much self-pity,
wallowing in sorrow. He just wants to get through life and he finds a way,
through the game of golf and with the help of the mysterious Bagger Vance.
I highly recommend this movie for all ages and types. Don't miss it. As
Bagger Vance says "Some things can't be learned, they must be remembered."