Director: Craig Roberts
Writer: Simon Farnaby
Starring: Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins, Rhys Ifans, Jake Daviews, Christian Lee, Jonah Lees, Mark Lewis Jones, and Johann Myers
There’s something completely British about taking a small moment in history, that would otherwise be completely forgotten and turning it into a charming little comedy film. Look at the recent The Duke, Save the Cinema, and Dream Horse, all of which are effortlessly charming, and all based on true stories that are almost so strange you literally couldn’t make it up. The Phantom of the Open is another one of these films, written by Simon Farnaby and directed by Craig Roberts, and telling the story of Maurice Flitcroft.
Mark Rylance stars as Maurice Flitcroft, a crane operator, who faces redundancy and decides to take a shot as the golf tournament The British Open, without any experience or actual knowledge of the game. By selecting the option for professional on the registration form he’s accepted without any questions asked and ends up shooting the worse round in the tournament’s history, leading him to be banned from every club in the country. Nothing stops Flitcroft from following his dreams, with the saying ‘practice is the road to perfection’.
The story and Flitcroft himself is completely largely than life, but it’s a true story, that’s just as unbelievable as it sounds. His attempts to play in the open led to a tournament for bad players in America, as well as inspired books and now this film. It’s a feel-good film that leaves a smile on your face from start to finish. Mark Rylance delivers a phenomenal and nuanced performance, that feels completely authentic and real. Sally Hawkins is also completely excellent as Jean Flitcroft, Maurice’s wife. There is real chemistry between them on screen and their relationship is sweet.
It’s an inspiring story about following your dreams and achieving whatever you put your mind to. It’s a story about not following the herd and doing your own thing and even if you don’t achieve it, at least you can say you tried. There’s some familiar gatekeeping moments where Flitcroft struggles to make his way into the golfing community because he doesn’t have the right shoes or clothes, but through pure persistence he makes sure that it doesn’t stand in his way.
The Phantom of the Open is a charming true. It’s a testament to what you can do if you put your mind to it, full of laugh out loud moments. A truly sweet story that needs to be seen by as many people as possible.
The Phantom of the Open will be in UK cinemas from 18th March
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