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Movie Review: ‘Bagger Vance’ not swinging

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by Stacey Mleczko
Features Editor

The previews tend to bring out the best lines in this movie. As always, they are the lines that drag you into a theater, but leave you wanting more witty lines. Needless to say, after watching “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” I left the theater a little unsatisfied.

The film itself was well made, it had a good flow, good lesson, good plot and great cast but it was not spectacular. Something about it, and its lack of excitement, sat uneasy with me.

“The Legend of Bagger Vance” presents itself on many levels. Audiences may see it for its focus on the game of golf or for its romance. But viewers who watch this movie more in depth may see a hint of spirituality.

Will Smith plays the character of Bagger Vance, who pops up presenting himself as the future golf caddy of Rannulph Junuh, played by Matt Damon.

Vance’s caddy career stems from a guardian angel position as he distantly revitalizes not only the golf technique of the long lost Junuh, but his livelihood as well.

I found myself watching a game of golf and anticipating the next shot. The game was compared to the way we play our lives. We have high points and low points and often loose focus, but with a little effort and some “authentic swing,” we can get back on track.

Junuh is a realistic character who met the high life early by becoming Savannah, Ga.’s most promising golfer. He fell in love with the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in Georgia, Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron).

With a little persuasion from Vance, Adele and a young but inspired Hardy Greaves, played by J. Michael Moncrief, Junuh enters a $10,000 golf tournament against two of the greatest golfers in the world.

Robert Redford directs a good cast, which accurately blurs the lines between spirituality, success and the mistakes made in life. Greaves is ashamed of his father for lowering his standards during the depression and taking work as a street sweeper to feed his family.

The morals of the story are strong and thought provoking within one’s own life, but the conclusion of the tale leaves one questioning the genuine article and whether Bagger Vance is a delusional dream, spiritual body or some inspiring wanderer. Something is absent and I am not convinced that Redford could put his finger on it either.

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