The Phantom of the Open

Watch The Phantom of the Open

"Every dreamer deserves a shot."
  • PG-13
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 42 min
  • 7.0  (6,957)
  • 65

The Phantom of the Open is a heartwarming and charming British comedy-drama released in 2021 that tells the unlikely but true story of an amateur golfer named Maurice Flitcroft, portrayed with a brilliant combination of pathos and humor by the Academy Award-winning actor Mark Rylance. Directed by Craig Roberts and penned by Simon Farnaby, adapted from the book by Farnaby and Scott Murray, the film explores the themes of determination, dreams, and the breaking of social and sporting barriers.

The narrative is centered on Maurice Flitcroft, a crane operator from Barrow-in-Furness, who, in his forties and with no prior golfing experience, decides to enter the 1976 British Open. This undertaking isn't fueled by a naive belief in hidden talent but rather by an unbridled passion and enthusiasm for the game he recently fell in love with. Maurice's unfettered determination to compete at the highest level of a sport that traditionally prides itself on exclusivity and skill makes him an endearing figure who captures the hearts of the public.

Mark Rylance's portrayal of Maurice brings to life a character bubbling with optimism and unshakeable self-belief, despite his obvious shortcomings as a golfer. His charm lies in his innocence and naivete as he approaches the ancient and often-elitist sport of golf without a hint of pretension. The film dives into Maurice’s personal life, his relationships with his wife, Jean (a strong yet tender performance by Sally Hawkins), and his supportive but often bemused family, who, despite the improbability of his goal, stand by his side.

His journey is a celebration of the human spirit, depicting an everyman with ordinary concerns but extraordinary dreams. With a wistful and quirky score underlining his quixotic quest, the film's aesthetic perfectly matches the tone of Maurice's adventure, crafting a delightful and nostalgic image of 1970s Britain.

Supporting cast members, including Ian Porter and Tommy Fallon, bring additional depth to the story with their presence, contributing to the rich tapestry of characters surrounding Maurice. While certain interactions are played for laughs, they also serve to underscore the societal boundaries that Flitcroft is obliviously trespassing upon.

The film captures the magic of the underdog—you feel every raised eyebrow from the snobby golfing community and every pat on the back from those who find Maurice’s audaciousness inspiring. The cinematography effortlessly transitions from the working-class grit of Maurice’s everyday life to the verdant, meticulously groomed lawns of the golf course, mirroring his own journey from obscurity to the spotlight.

The comedy in The Phantom of the Open arises from the sheer absurdity of Maurice’s attempts to compete at a professional level. However, the film treats its protagonist with an abundance of respect and affection, never mocking him but rather celebrating his unflappable resolve. Scenes of Maurice endlessly practicing his swing or devising homemade training techniques become comedic moments that highlight his resourcefulness and unorthodox approach.

As Maurice's fame grows and his story captures the media's attention, the film delves into the notion of celebrity and the power of a good narrative. It asks audiences to ponder the true value of professionalism, expertise, and the seriousness often associated with competitive sports. Flitcroft becomes a symbol of joyous participation for its own sake, and his heartwarming interactions with a diverse array of characters along the way only strengthen the film's message of inclusivity and perseverance.

The Phantom of the Open doesn't just tell the story of a man's attempt to play in the prestigious Open Championship; it tells a deeper tale of self-expression, fearless ambition, and the sheer delight of pursuing one's passions regardless of the likelihood of success. Viewers are left to admire the protagonist for the purity of his intentions, tickled by his antics but moved by his undeterred aspiration.

More than just a sports film, it is a testament to the power of dreams and the beauty of taking risks, no matter how audacious or impractical they may seem. Through the artful blend of humor and heart, the cinematography, the skilled performances, and the stirring narrative, The Phantom of the Open invites audiences of all ages to cheer for the quintessential dreamer and reminds us all of the joy to be found in the pursuit of our own personal 'open championships,' no matter how improbable the success.

The Phantom of the Open is a 2022 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 65.

The Phantom of the Open
Where to Watch The Phantom of the Open
The Phantom of the Open is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Phantom of the Open for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 42 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (6,957)
  • Metascore