Is this movie perfect? Certainly not. Is it cliché? Yes. As you might read in other reviews or comments, the story is "typical" of the average sports movie.
The problem is... its true! So, when you have a historically accurate (more on that topic in a moment) movie with a happy ending, are you automatically doomed to mediocrity? I don't think so.
As a huge fan of the book, I was very concerned that the great story would be butchered in favor of a dumbed-down movie. And, my first impression of the movie (from the trailer) was exactly that. They added a silly love interest to the movie that didn't exist historically. There was some unfortunate dialog that didn't quite fit with the feel of the story from a historical point of view. And, Eddie didn't exactly look the way he does in some of the original photos.
But, with that said. It is still a good movie because it is an undeniably good story. Do the good guys win? Yes. But, in real life they actually did win. So, its hardly reasonable to expect them to change history in order to provide a different flavor of drama.
As a golfer I liked this movie for several reasons. First, it accurately represents a great story in my favorite sport. Second, the story is set in a time that many golfers view with some degree of reverence. Hickory shafts, brassies, niblicks, and golfers who still played in the rain. Finally, I liked it because it is one of the few golf movies I have seen where the "swings" do not appear to be obviously faked. The actors swing as though they know how to play the game. And, for me, that goes a long way to enhancing the drama of the film.
Now, a note on historical accuracy. As with most movies that originated as a great book, it falls short. That doesn't make it a bad movie, it just means you have to know what to expect. Francis, Harry, Ted, and Eddie all survived the translation from book to movie with little defacing. However, many of the 'other' characters and stories that were important to the book didn't survive. This is to be expected, or they would have had to make the movie 9 hours long.
For those of you who know the story, but haven't read the book. This is a non-fiction story, of sorts. The only problem is that when Frost wrote the book he didn't always take the time to credit his source when he was attributing thoughts, feelings, or dialog to the characters. So, it is occasionally difficult to tell the difference between dialog that is true to history, and that which Mark Frost applied in the interests of dramatic license.
As stated above, the movie survives all of these problems in a way that I didn't expect. The movie stayed true to the large themes and main characters of the book. The movie survives the translation because it is true to the original theme. Perseverance.
I am not a professional movie reviewer (or writer for that matter), so I won't bother getting in to my opinion about how the movie was made. I am sure someone else will comment on the relative cinematic value of the movie. Unfortunately, many of the supposed movie experts are not going to know the story, know the book, or know the sport of golf. So, it is unlikely that they will be able to accurately represent the way the movie will be perceived by golfers. Hopefully I have commented in a way that is useful to golfers.
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