Another Excellent Fantasy-Sports Film
I usually like fantasy movies and I really enjoy sports films. Combine the two well - like "Field Of Dreams" and like this movie - and I am sure to rate this extremely high. I've seen it three times and enjoyed it immensely each time.
It reminded me a bit, too, of "The Natural," but instead of baseball, this one features golf and real-life legends Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen playing the local guy, "Rannulph Junuh". Like "The Natural," this is beautifully photographed, has a wonderful feel-good ending, a variety of characters, a beautiful lead woman and good acting.
The no-name child actor in here, J. Michael Moncrief, who plays "Hardy Greaves," narrates the film as an older man looking back on this story. The kid is a fine actor, too, and I really enjoyed his Georgia accent. Charlize Theron is the beauty, playing "Adele Invergordon," a woman who organizes this famous golf match between the greatest amateur player of the world, the best professional and "Junuh," who is the focus of this story. Theron's known for her dramatic roles but she exhibits a nice comedy touch in here.
Damon does his normal fine job of acting and Will Smith, as the angelic caddie "Bagger Vance," is uncharacteristically low-key, which I found nice to see. Bruce Magill did a good as Hagen and Joel Gretsch, likewise, for Jones. Magill is obviously the best real-life golfer here among these actors. Damon had to learn the game from scratch, and did a fine job with his swing.
The only part of this film that went a little overboard - but it's the fantasy part of the story - was the New Age-type preaching by "Bagger." However, some of his speeches were simply golf visualization, which has always been taught as a means to concentrate better on one's shot-making. I didn't think hearing the Lord's name in vain a half dozen times was necessary in here, either, but what are you gonna do? Other than those things, this is great film and I one I throughly appreciate every time I see it.