A Gentleman's Game

  • 2002
  • 1 HR 50 MIN
  • R
  • Drama, Sports

Writer-director J. Mills Goodloe explores the psychological nitty-gritty of golfing, but never draws together class-oriented commentary, coming-of-age tribulation and domestic tragedy into a coherent dramatic whole. When 13-year-old Timmy Price (Mason Gamble) expresses an interest in golf, his harried father, Jim (Dylan Walsh), dismisses his enthusiasm....read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Writer-director J. Mills Goodloe explores the psychological nitty-gritty of golfing, but never draws together class-oriented commentary, coming-of-age tribulation and domestic tragedy into a coherent dramatic whole.

When 13-year-old Timmy Price (Mason Gamble) expresses an interest in golf, his harried father, Jim (Dylan Walsh), dismisses his enthusiasm. When Jim isn’t forgetting his troubles on the fairway, he's far too consumed with caring for his clinically depressed wife to devote much time to his son. Timmy perfects his swing, finally impressing his hard-working dad, who nonetheless doesn’t feel he can finance his son’s professional ambition. When Timmy agrees to caddy at

his dad’s country club, he gets an education on several levels. Although he can use the Fox Chase Country Club facilities, he runs up against an ingrained pecking order. The club members are nice to Timmy because his dad is a member, so the other caddies, who have to work for a living, resent him. As Timmy’s

game improves, Jim’s wealthy friend, Charles Logan (Phillip Baker Hall), suggests he study with retired champion Foster Pearse (Gary Sinise). Timmy has to wear down Foster’s resistance, but the reclusive player eventually gives him rudimentary tips and fills the parental void in Timmy's life. But the boy's seriousness is diametrically opposed to the questionable values of the adult golfers: A cheater castigates Timmy for taking him to task, Logan indulges racist attitudes and the club member who sexually molests a caddy gets away scott free. In addition to wrestling with these weighty moral issues, Timmy discovers that Foster is a flawed role model. Can Timmy reconcile his burning desire to play with the country club's unsavory sense of entitlement?

Goodloe and his writing partner, Tom Coyne, do a serviceable job of adapting Goodloe’s novel but fall into a few artistic sand-traps along the way. Given that movies about golf generally regard the game as a microcosm of life itself, it's unfortunate that they address ethical issues in such a sanctimonious way.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Writer-director J. Mills Goodloe explores the psychological nitty-gritty of golfing, but never draws together class-oriented commentary, coming-of-age tribulation and domestic tragedy into a coherent dramatic whole. When 13-year-old Timmy Price (Mason… (more)

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