The Greatest Game Ever Played

The Greatest Game Ever Player Poster“Golf is a game played by gentlemen, not by the likes of you.”

Francis is a caddy, and caddies are not allowed to play golf. But when a benevolent club member gives Francis an opportunity to try his hand at the course, the poor immigrant breaks into the game as an amateur. Despite being scorned by the wealthier members of the club, Francis takes a shot at his first championship – and fails to qualify. Francis trades his dream of playing golf and for a mundane retail job, until a club member comes back and offers him a chance to try out for the U.S. Open. Against all odds, Francis plays in the qualifying round – and places.

The Greatest Game Ever Played is a rich drama that follows Francis’s fight against society and fear to play the game of his dreams. With a carefree 10-year-old caddy by his side, Francis rises to challenge his childhood hero, British golf master Harry Vardon. The resulting tale of drama twists emotion so beautifully that even the most sports-ignorant viewers can yearn for the characters and their struggle.

The Good

The Greatest Game Ever Played is a classic “underdog” story. Time and time again it is shown that wealth, social status, popularity, and even talent do not give a person worth. Francis overcomes poverty and ridicule to break into the game; even Vardon is shown as fighting against the ghosts of people in his past who told him he could not play.

The film also places significant focus on the error of pride. Players that get cocky or arrogant fall, while those that play with quiet determination pull through. On several occasions, Francis falters when he gets distracted by the ridicule of those around him. His cheerfully profound caddy tells him to focus on playing his game and let the other guys play theirs – advice that ultimately allows Francis to conquer his fears.

The Bad

The most troubling element about the film is Francis’s relationship with his father. The hardworking man challenges Francis to get a real paying job – a worthy argument. But Francis’s mother goes against her husband’s wishes to help Francis get a start in the game, and Francis later breaks a promise to his father to never play again. It is the sight of his dad watching from the sidelines that causes Francis to lose the qualifying round for his first championship. By the end of the film, [SPOILER!] Francis’s father comes to rejoice in his son’s victory, but the implied message is questionable.

From a content standpoint, the film is fairly clean, with just a few spots, most of which are related to the historical culture. There is a great deal of drinking and smoking, although Francis does neither. Some mild language is tossed around, and there is a brief scene of drunken violence.

In Conclusion

The drama in this film is thrilling and engrossing; it’s a great film to get lost in for an evening in front of the TV. But ultimately, that is the only purpose the movie served. I didn’t take away any compelling messages or favorite characters. If you like a good drama, this film is worth a try, even if you don’t play golf. But I don’t think I’ll be rewatching the film often.

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