Basically: A fluffy bit of folklore that plays out like a fairytale.
I am beginning to develop an affection for Mark Rylance and his gift for disappearing into his roles—he goes invisible while his characters take on palpable substence. His latest, The Phantom of the Open is further proof of his skill. Rylance and Sally Hawkins, as Maurice and Jean Flitcroft, are a couple your grandparents might’ve spent afternoons chatting with over the fence between yards. This pairing, even more than the dreamy imagery that lifts the film, is what makes you smile.
The Phantom of the Open is a whimsical take on the man who went down in history as the worst golfer of all time, someone so inspired by watching The Open from 1975 that he entered the championship the following year without ever having played a round of golf. Actually, he tried, the aristocracy at the time just wouldn’t accept a working-class bloke on the green. That, of course, didn’t stop Maurice and his zeal for doing the thing he loved, no matter how badly, inspired his children and golfers on every course.
During the 106 min runtime, Rylance becomes both Charlie and Willy Wonka, while Hawkins is a lovely and loyal Grandpa Joe. From the screenplay by Simon Farnaby, director Craig Roberts spins this tale with the affection of a bedtime story. He wants to sweep you away in its settings, and its characters, and its unstoppable spirit, and it works. Perhaps it is a bit too precious at times, but this is certainly an enjoyable fairytale.
In the End: The Phantom of the Open is a nice one to watch one afternoon with tea (six sugars) and a tin of biscuits.