In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
A disillusioned war veteran, Captain Rannulph Junah, reluctantly agrees to play a game of golf. He finds the game futile until his caddy, Bagger Vance, teaches him the secret of the authentic golf stroke which turns out also to be the secret to mastering any challenge and finding meaning in life. Written by
It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a movie as much as I did this one. We all watch movies for a lot of reasons besides the obvious reason of "entertainment." While THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE does it in a most charming and entertaining way it is all about Redemption. Each of us faces adversity in our daily life and how we face it marks the quality of the life that we live. Junuh has faced personal demons for more than ten years since he fought in WW I. The "Loss of his swing" is more than an athletic loss that he refers to. He has lost his faith in himself and his ability to face life after his return from the war.
The role of Bagger Vance, ably played by Will Smith, was not as God like as the character described by Steven Pressfield in his book from which this film was adapted. In the movie Vance had the ability to help people think beyond the obvious and to reach back for something special. In Junuh he helps reinstill a personal belief and an appreciation of life. In the Pressfield book, Vance WAS a God.
All of the roles were well played and the young boy playing Lemmon in his youth stole the show. It was also good to see Jack Lemmon in his final movie role. I thought it was an interesting coincidence that Lemmon's final role was in a mystical movie just as Burt Lancaster's was in THE FIELD OF DREAMS. The score was also especially moving and the music fit the movie to a "T." This is a different kind of movie but still qualifies as a "feel good" movie. We don't always have an opportunity to go back and take a second stab at life and that is the beauty of this movie.
It is a wonderful thing to be able to go back and make amends for mistakes we have made in our lives and to come out on the other side as a better person. That is what Junuh was able to achieve and that made me feel very good when the credits rolled. For those of you who thought this was a golfing movie that is not the case. It is a movie about life and the chance to make a fresh start which is always important for those who struggle to overcome adversity.
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