The Phantom of the Open
Feel-good golf biopic dramedy has smoking, strong language.
The Phantom of the Open
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Phantom of the Open is an uplifting British dramedy based on a true story. It has plenty of positive messages along with some salty language and smoking. Starring Mark Rylance as Maurice Flitcroft -- dubbed "the world's worst golfer" after he tricked his way into playing at the 1976 British Open -- the movie celebrates the idea of never giving up on your dreams. Flitcroft is an opportunist with grand ideas. But his approach to life is inspirational, and he has plenty of wise words along the way, such as "practice is the route to perfection" and "mistakes are a chance to learn." Flitcroft's family are, on the whole, supportive of his endeavors, especially wife Jean (Sally Hawkins). But he does come into conflict with his eldest son. Flitcroft and others smoke regularly, and there's some drinking. While it's not frequently to excess, in one scene a character appears to have driven home while under the influence. Strong language includes some use of "f---ing" and "s--t." But these points aside, this is a heartwarming film for teens and up.
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What's the Story?
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN tells the true story of Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance), a man who dreamed of fame and fortune. After stumbling across a golf tournament on his TV, he decided to become a professional golfer -- despite never having played the game -- and entered the 1976 British Open golf championship.
Is It Any Good?
With its stranger-than-fiction plot, this British comedy oozes a feel-good factor that will leave audiences feeling warm in its glow. Directed by Craig Roberts, The Phantom of the Open is a classic underdog story. The fact that it's true only makes it all the more remarkable and will have you reaching for the internet to find out if it really did happen. We'll save you some clicks ... it did. Maurice Flitcroft's appearance at the 1976 British Open has gone down in golfing history and earned the shipyard crane operator the nickname, "the world's worst golfer" -- a moniker the man himself objected to. As you might expect, a story as bizarre as this has plenty of laughs. However, it's also a tale about chasing your dreams, no matter how far-fetched they might be.
It would be easy for Flitcroft to be a figure of fun. But his delusions of grandeur are never played for cheap laughs, which is a credit to both the writing, directing, and Rylance's excellent performance. Rylance takes center stage, but he is matched by an equally noteworthy Sally Hawkins, who plays Flitcroft's wife, Jean. Meanwhile Rhys Ifans has fun playing the stuffy organizer of the golfing tournament and Flitcroft's adversary. As for Roberts, having made a name of himself in front of the camera in the likes of the sweet Submarine, he is proving himself to be a young director more than capable of handling a feature-length film with an A-star cast. Even if golf is not your thing, this is a heartwarming, inspirational film that is well worth taking a swing at.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the character of Maurice Flitcroft in The Phantom of the Open. Would you describe him as a positive role model? Why, or why not? What character strengths did he display? Can you think of a time in your own life when you've shown these traits?
Talk about some of the language used. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the movie?
A number of characters are shown smoking in the film. What are the dangers of smoking? How have attitudes to smoking changed since when the movie was set?
The movie is based on a true story. What other films have you seen that were about real events?
- In theaters: June 3, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: July 8, 2022
- Cast: Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans
- Director: Craig Roberts
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Character Strengths: Curiosity, Perseverance
- Run time: 106 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some strong language and smoking
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 14, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Feel-good British dramedy has language, smoking, racism.
Sweary but warm tale of singing fishermen is one to catch.
Charming, feel-good flick. Not much kid appeal.
For kids who love true stories
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate