Tommy's Honour

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Tommy's Honour Movie Poster Image
Historical sports drama has some mature themes.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 112 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite fear and social pressure to "know their place," industrious and ambitious poor people do their best to rise up out of poverty and against the oppression of the rich.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tommy is headstrong and confident. His father is industrious and inventive.

Violence

A woman becomes ill and dies. A man is said to have died of a broken heart. Fights break out among men watching a golf match. Childbirth brings on fatalities, and blood is seen.  

Sex

Several men enter a brothel. One declines and goes to find the woman he loves instead. They kiss when he arrives and it's implied they have sex.

Language

"Bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke tobacco and drink alcohol to excess.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tommy's Honour is a 2016 feature about an inventive Scottish groundskeeper and his talented son, whose 19th century innovations helped create the modern game of golf. Oppressive class distinctions of the time keep such creative people in their place in the lower class, while the upper class they serve enjoy the benefits of their work. Good old boys engage in hearty alcoholic consumption and overconsumption. A woman's reputation follows her and upsets the religious family of the man she marries. Men visit a brothel but no sex is shown. Childbirth brings on fatalities; blood is seen. The word "bastard" is used.

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What's the story?

TOMMY'S HONOUR is a story of passion for the sport of golf and also a story of class difference in Great Britain of the 19th century. Old Tom Morris (Peter Mullan) is the groundskeeper of St. Andrews, the great Scottish golf course. He works for the upper-class members (one of them played by Sam Neill), who invite golfers to compete against the nearly unbeatable Tom. They reap the massive betting winnings and throw Tom mere scraps for his victories. Tom also makes valuable contributions, making balls and clubs and inventing new ones as his game demonstrates the need for new tools. His 15-year-old son, Tommy (Jack Lowden), is an even more competitive player than his dad, with power and accuracy, and soon he, too, is earning their masters large winnings without sharing in the profits. Tommy is a rebellious sort and renegotiates the deal, demanding the wealthy bettors pay him all the money, leaving it to him to decide how much to share with the gamblers. He and his father start a series of "open" championships around Great Britain, playing in rain, wind, and snow, bringing their innovations with them, thereby popularizing the game. Tommy marries Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a waitress with a past, who is rejected by Nancy (Therese Bradley), Tommy's religious mother. Although Tommy keeps winning, tragedy ensues. 

Is it any good?

Director Jason Connery, son of golf-loving actor Sean, reverently and engagingly depicts two key characters in the 19th century development of the modern game. Tommy refuses to be kept down by class boundaries and snooty attitudes of people whose wealth and position were gained not by hard work but by inheritance. He understands that the upper-class club members need him because he can beat most other golfers, and he leverages that advantage to raise his family out of poverty, a good lesson for strivers everywhere who won't be oppressed because of old, outdated rules and norms. Lived-in performances by Mullan and Lowden make Tommy's Honour accessible even to those with no interest in golf, although younger kids may be bored.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why some parents worry when their kids strive to raise themselves above their station in life. Why do you think Tommy's parents were afraid when he tried to do better in life than they did?

  • Negative attitudes toward women depicted in Tommy's Honour are in some cases related to religious beliefs and in others related to the passing of wealth from one generation to another. Why do you think Tommy's mother didn't like Meg? Do you think she changed her mind about Meg eventually?

  • Tommy practiced the golf skills his father taught him. How much of success in any field do you think comes from natural talent and how much from hard work? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

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