Tommy's Honour, B
Rated PG, 117 minutes
Well before Tiger Woods, there was Tommy Morris, a young British golf prodigy who won four British Open championships before he was 21. The well-acted, poignant new sports film "Tommy's Honour" tells his story, and while it's predictable, it's a bittersweet tale that's a little better than most in his true-sports-story genre.
Tom ("Trainspotting's" Peter Mullan, heavily bearded and looking much older) and Tommy Morris ("A United Kingdom's" Jack Lowden), father and son pioneers of professional golf, relied on skill, business acumen and working-class street smarts to make Tommy one of the world's first sports superstars and found the modern game of golf.
Directed by actor Jason Connery (and Sean's son) with a script from Pamela Marrin and Kevin Cook and based on Cook's book "Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son," "Tommy's Honour" is a handsomely shot, modestly compelling story behind one of Britain's first sports stars, before people even knew what a celebrity was.
As we know, with these sports stories, sports is only a backdrop and often a metaphor for real life, and the Morris's story isn't without some incredible moments and some genuine heartbreak, which the story focuses on in the last act. It turns from golf to a bittersweet, tragic love story with the young Tommy, played with earnest appeal by Lowden, and his somewhat older bride, in a strong turn from "Elementary's" Ophelia Lovibond.
"Tommy's Honour" is best when it focuses on the golf and where the fascination lies, and how a young greenkeeper's son became a legend then dies tragically at age 24. Old Tom, played with grit by Mullan, has the more fascinating story, but it's skimmed over and summarized in the credits: he also won championships, later designed many golf courses, becoming a pioneer in the game while outliving his whole family.
With a worthy, if not calculated story, "Tommy's Honour" would've played a few strokes higher if it had focused more on Old Tom's story.