Golf? A movie about GOLF?
That was my first thought upon seeing the previews for The Greatest Game Ever Played.
My second thought was - WOW! This movie makes golf seem exciting! From a person who thinks watching golf is slightly less exciting that watching grass grow, this is quite a compliment. But I wondered if the movie could live up to the previews.
Short answer? Yes! It does!
Now for the long answer....Shia LeBeouf plays young Francis Ouimet, an amateur golfer from the wrong side of the tracks, in this film based on real events. (Warning - Keanu-related fact: Shia played the earnest, but ill-fated Chas in Constantine also in 2005.)
Francis loves the game of golf, but it is a game for gentlemen only in this pre-World War I story. So Francis caddies and hones his skills, until the time when he gets his chance.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was almost nothing to ruin the family friendliness of this surprisingly exciting movie. There was a mild amount of strong language, but it was used in culturally realistic ways instead of for shock value. A love interest was present, but barely even acknowledged as the story goes on.
Some topics of interest I expect to discuss with my children when we watch this movie are: class differences in 1913 America and contrast that with current class differences, the responsibility to honor one's father and mother, the lengths one might take to realize one's dream, working hard, and friendship.
One of the most engaging parts of the film was the part of the irrepressible caddie Eddie Lowery (played by Josh Flitter). His rhyming catch phrases from this time period were delivered in such a charming manner and his attitude brought a lift every time he was on screen.
I couldn't review this film without mentioning the special effects shots. First seen in the previews and repeated often throughout the movie, the CGI allowed us to follow the golf ball through the air with speed, something we would obviously not be able to do in real life, but something that shows the precision and power behind a golfer's swing.
I thoroughly and unexpectedly enjoyed this movie!
IMDB Greatest Game Ever Played
SCREEN IT REVIEW
UPDATE!!! My kids all watched this movie recently and enjoyed it greatly. Suzy did fall asleep, but it was nearly 10pm! David said he would recommend it to all his friends. Emily and James watched the entire thing with gusto! This is a great family film!