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Film Review: “The Phantom of the Open” (2022)

a scene from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN Photo credit Nick Wall. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

We teach our children that we learn from failures. Only the one who does not try makes no mistakes. It is true though. Because practicing is what helps us get better, sharpen our skills and improve our scores. But what happens if the failure is on a colossal level; on a level where the world starts speaking about it? Should you give up or continue your journey as if nothing happened?

Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance), a crane driver, is an ordinary man with a wife and three sons, who enjoys his quiet life. He begins to think about what job to do, after all, he is too far from the age of retirement. Seems with many opportunities available, he chooses one that will stun the world – becoming a golfer. An amateur player who ends up making a record-worst score of 121 in the British Open Gold Championship.

Based on a true story and adapted from Farnaby and Scott Murray’s biography, “The Phantom of the Open: Maurice Flitcroft, the World’s Worst Golfer”, the film offers a heartwarming and hilarious approach to a story that will literally melt your heart. Certain scenes are so funny, that you won’t believe it ever occurred in real life. Because if it did, perhaps, those particular moments could have been record-breaking as the funniest ones. Maurice himself is a genuinely nice person with a heart of gold. His wife, Jean, is extremely supportive and enables him to pursue his dreams.

The golf-playing sequences were phenomenally shot. Even though they were some and without much fuss, it captures Maurice’s determination despite the fact that he was asked to quit the game, as it was too long to watch such an unbearably painful game showcased by Maurice. All that, of course, is just the beginning. As the story unfolds, there are lots of interesting aspects of Maurice Flitcroft’s journey that are revealed, showing why you have admired him from the start.

As for the cast of the film, Marc Rylance as Maurice Flitcroft is amazing, while Sally Hawkins, by his side, turns them into a powerful duo. Both actors have their own charisma and way of portraying characters. But in this film, they are equal and do not compete with each other, which helps to focus on Jean and Maurice’s dynamic more closely. Furthermore, Christian and Jonah Lees, twin brothers, were very memorable as Maurice and Jean’s children, and you will fall with them along the way.

That being said, Craig Roberts’ film is all that you need to feel inspired, encouraged, courageous and brave toward the new changes, heights and achieving impossible tasks. This film is about breaking barriers and setting new norms and standards as we know them. That’s what Maurice Flitcroft says at some point and that’s what we all must remember – regular practice is the road to perfection. And these true words have always been proven right through actions.

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