The bonnie banks of Scotland set the scene for Tommy’s Honour, a golfing family-drama about two of the men that ruled the game in its early days.
Old Tom Morris (Peter Mullan) is the greenskeeper for the St. Andrews Links who started the inaugural Open Championship in 1860, going on to win four tournaments. His son, Tommy (Jack Lowden) is a young prodigy in the sport. Young Tommy resents the strict class lines that dictate Britain and the sport at the time. As the son of the greenskeeper, Tommy is looked down upon despite his playing ability.
Tommy’s Honour tells the story of these two men, still regarded as two of the best players in the history of golf, and the successes and tragedies that fill their lives. The film tackles more themes than one would expect, and the almost two-hour runtime is reflective of that.
Much more than a movie about golf, Tommy’s Honour also addresses class struggle, religious morality and death. However, the engrossing father-son drama and the romance between Tommy and Meg (Ophelia Lovibond) occupy the majority of screen time.
From the accents to the scenery, Tommy’s Honour is an ode to late-19th century Scotland. Aesthetically, the cinematography transports the audience to St. Andrews.
With countless golf matches and references to the sport, Tommy’s Honour is a hard draw for those not fond of the sport. That said, the golf scenes are actually enjoyable and only serve to enhance the drama of the lives of the two men central to the story. There are the indulgent moments for the golf lover, but the majority of the golf scenes serve a purpose.
Even when getting into the jargon of the game, the drama and relationships in the lives of the Tom Morrises are enjoyable to watch unfold onscreen. It is easy to enjoy the golf scenes for their dramatic underpinnings in addition to the golf action. That being said, there are moments of confusion, especially because the golf at the time was significantly different.
The performances of the two leads are the real drivers in this movie, and with an excellent supporting cast and surprising turns, Tommy’s Honour is an enjoyable movie set in the world of golf that a professional putter or amateur could enjoy.