| A self-help movie that goes beyond the game of golf and is intended to give you a new course to follow in life. This sports drama directed by Matthew Dean Russell is based on the best-selling novel, “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia,” by David L. Cook. Cook began his career at the University of Kansas. Besides being an author, Cook is a speaker and peak performance consultant. He is on a mission to coach the eternal legacies of men and move their lives from success to significance.
Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black from “Get Low” and “Sling Blade”) is a talented young golfer from Waco. He had a one shot lead going into the final hole of a qualifying event. Rather than taking a safer route to the cup, he impulsively played to win and suffered a meltdown of embarrassing proportions.
Mad as a hornet, Luke drives fast through the beautiful Hill Country of Texas and runs off the road crashing through a fence to avoid hitting a cow. His car ends up in a pasture. A friendly rancher named Johnny Crawford (Oscar winner Robert Duvall from “Tender Mercies,” “Crazy Heart” and “Get Low”) rides up on horseback and offers a friendly helping hand.
Johnny drives Luke into the nearby town of Utopia with a population of 375. It turns out that Johnny was a former golf tour player. Johnny offers to help Luke find his game if he will spend a week in Utopia.
Johnny serves as a mentor to Luke. He introduces him to an unorthodox training regimen that includes fly-fishing, painting, pitching washers and flying a small airplane.
Luke develops romantic feelings for Sarah (Deborah Ann Woll from HBO’s “True Blood”), a red-headed waitress at the local café. He also meets Sarah’s mom Lily (Oscar winner Melissa Leo from “The Fighter”) and Johnny’s sister Mabel (Kathy Baker from the “Jesse Stone” made-for-television movies).
This wholesome movie stresses values that seem to have been lost in America. The movie’s message is that there is more to life than winning. Family, friendship, faith and love are put on a higher plane.
Duvall is superb as a steadying presence representing the voice of reason and experience. Black, who currently lives in Columbia, Missouri, has a great smile and makes an immediate connection with the audience. His inquisitive nature searching for the answers to life’s great mysteries turns this film into an uplifting, crowd-pleasing experience.
The movie was shot on location in Utopia and Fredericksburg, Texas. By taking this journey with Luke, you will learn many helpful tips about living a meaningful life and making a difference in the world.
It is a refreshing change of pace to have a movie that doesn’t need to resort to violence, sex, drugs or bad language to tell a story resonating emotionally and appealing to all audiences.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"