Just in time for Father’s Day in Australia comes a powerful “Father and Son” film which will tick many boxes for golfers (and even their non-golfing partners).
Quality films featuring golf are few and far between. Apart from the classic zany films like Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup and others of that genre, there haven’t been too many notable, dramatic pieces surrounding our wonderful sport. The Greatest Game Ever Played, The Legend of Bagger Vance, and Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius are a few standouts in this area, with very little else available to satiate a golf-lover’s appetite.
This month, however, it’s time to add another film to that list of quality golf offerings. Tommy’s Honour is a powerfully-moving story of the fractured relationship between Scotland’s Golf Royalty — Tom and Tommy Morris, the dynamic father-son team who ushered in the modern game of golf.
Many golfers (especially those who know the game’s history) may be familiar with the names of “Old” Tom and “Young” Tom Morris, notably for their success at the early Open Championships. But few will know the story of Tom and Tommy; a tale which goes far beyond that of simply two golf champions.
Based on the true accounts of Tom and Tommy Morris, the story begins in 1866 as 15-year-old Tommy Morris (played by Jack Lowden) heads to the links with his father, Tom Morris (Peter Mullan). Already a legend, “Old Tom” is greenskeeper for the Royal & Ancient golf club, as well as the town’s club- and ball-maker; and thrice winner of the first major golf tournament, the Open Championship – which he founded in 1860. While “Old” Tom has secured his place in the history of the ancient game, “Young” Tommy soon outshines his father, winning the Open’s prize Championship Belt three times while still in his teens, while drawing flocks of spectators to the sport. In addition, Tommy becomes the sport’s first “touring pro”, effectively changing how the game’s professionals are perceived (and paid).
Set against the early days of the sport and stunning landscape of Scotland, the story speaks to the universal themes that still exist today — familial disharmony, class struggle and complicated love stories. Tom’s jealousy of his son’s success taints their personal relationship but together their professional relationship is front-page news. Against Tom’s wishes, Tommy rebels against both the aristocracy led by R&A chief Alexander Boothby (Sam Neill) and against his parent’s wishes in his compelling yet tragic relationship with Meg Drinnen (Ophelia Lovibond).
Winner of the BAFTA SCOTLAND AWARD 2016 (Best Feature Film) and an Official Selection of both the Edinburgh International Film Festival and BBC First British Film Festival, Tommy’s Honour is directed brilliantly by Jason Connery (son of the famed James Bond actor Sean Connery). Written by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook, the screenplay is an adaptation from Cook’s acclaimed book of the same name.
Inside Golf previewed this film recently, and we can attest that it is one of the best golf films we’ve seen in years. Golf lovers (and fans of its history) will be enraptured by the sight of players resplendent in plus-fours and coats, swinging hickory-shafted clubs, on true links-style courses (complete with long grass and rough-as-anything surrounds), in wind, rain and even snow.
But the film is more than just a golf movie. Indeed, even our non-golfing partners thoroughly enjoyed the film, as it features a compelling story about full, rich characters, dealing with issues that wouldn’t be out of place today.
On the Eagle-Birdie-Par-Bogey scale, we rate Tommy’s Honour as a solid “Eagle” for golf lovers, and a “Birdie” for our non-golfing cinema-goers.
Tommy’s Honour opens in Australian cinemas nationally SEPTEMBER 7. View the trailer here: https://youtu.be/k7Ltt4la28Q