The Phantom of the Open (2021)
October 10, 2022 7:54 AM - Subscribe

Maurice Flitcroft, a dreamer and unrelenting optimist, manages to gain entry to the 1976 British Open Golf Championship qualification round despite being a complete novice.

Flitcroft practised on the beach, and became known for cheekily entering the British Open golf championship in 1976 as a self-declared professional, thus circumventing the handicap requirement for amateurs. He found himself competing with the likes of Seve Ballesteros, but chaotically chalked up the worst score in the tournament’s history, to the spluttering rage of the puce-faced, blazer-wearing gentlemen in charge. They tried to ban him but he kept on gatecrashing competitions with wacky disguises and fake names. Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian

A different, deeper, sadder movie would open up the secondary characters affected by Maurice Flitcroft’s strangely masochistic stunt, but it wouldn’t be as japey or audience-friendly or gosh-darn nice as this one. Twice, the film pokes fun at Maurice’s unwavering, straight-faced tea order — milk with six sugars, please — but it’s in no position to tease, really. “The Phantom of the Open” likes it just as sweet. Guy Lodge in Variety

Screenwriter Simon Farnaby sprinkles the kind of parochial charm that graced his screenplays for Paddington 2 and Mindhorn, whilst director Craig Roberts builds upon his impressive work on Eternal Beauty to deliver a truly bewitching movie that finds a little bit of magic on the grimy streets of 1970s and 80s Barrow-in-Furness that ultimately steals even the hearts of the stuffy golf courses of suburban Britain. Mark Cunliffe on Letterboxd

It all comes together into an affable movie that, like its affable subject, doesn’t have any measurable ambition beyond getting the ball in the hole. And yet it could still make hardened souls cry a few tears in the back of an airplane, pick the rest of us up on a gray Sunday afternoon, and remind anyone struggling through stubbornly existential feelings of helplessness — which is another way of saying everyone — that the world is their oyster, even when it looks a lot more like a barnacle. David Ehrlich in Indiewire

Trailer [Youtube]
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