What a wonderful family film Disney Studios brings to the screen. Based on a true story, it's about a poor 20 year old Boston caddie, who beats the odds and wins the 1913 U.S. Open Golf Tournament.
As an amateur with no country club affiliation or even a proper coach, it was unheard of for a lad from "the wrong side of the tracks" to reach this status.
I'm an avid watcher of golf tournaments and can be found rooting each week for the underdog, which has usually been Phil Michelson before he finally won a Major. I truly enjoyed the ups and downs and background politics of this prestigious 1913 Open. But, you don't need to be a fan of the game to enjoy this entertaining film.
Like all good stories, you must care about the characters and director Bill Paxton (actor in Twister and director of Frality) uses Shia LaBeouf's talents to the utmost. LaBeouf (Holes) plays Francis Ouimet, a caddie who practices late night putts in his upstairs bedroom that he shares with his little brother, all because he is not allowed to play on the private golf course.
His mother quietly encourages him, but father, a French Canadian laborer is dead set against it. He knows that the "gentlemen" who play the game will never let a poor man play on their hallowed greens. And he's right to a point, as Francis is mostly treated as a second-class citizen.
When the day of the Tournament begins, it's a grudge match between the defending champion, a hot-tempered American, and a famous British golfer, Harry Vardon, who had won numerous British Opens.
No one really notices Francis, except to laugh at his short, chubby caddie, a plucky fifth grader, who can hardly carry the clubs on his little shoulders but knows how to skip school. However, he proves to be Francis' secret weapon, as he whispers encouragement and good advice to the sometime distracted young golfer.
Not just a sports movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played, has terrific sets of early 1900 Boston, wonderfully colorful characters such as a burly British golfer who would rather beat up his opponents after a couple of pints of ale at the local pub and then go out and beat them on the course, and a young man with enough heart and talent to take on the best in the sport and come out on top.