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Awesome: 10.81%
Worth A Look: 25.68%
Just Average32.43%
Pretty Crappy: 16.22%
Sucks: 14.86%

6 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Legend of Bagger Vance, The
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by EricDSnider

"It's about nothing, but it's not bad."
4 stars

"The Legend of Bagger Vance" is an eminently likable film, full of eminently likable stars playing eminently likable characters. It seems to have delusions of being a deep, meaningful piece of work, but if you disregard that false notion, there's nothing not to like about it.

In the midst of the Great Depression, Georgia socialite Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) is struggling to retain her wealth after her father's death. In particular, there's a luxurious new golf course that has suffered a bit, what with the lack of rich people to use it.

As a promotion, Adele gets the South's two best golfers to play an exhibition match. But the Savannah locals want one of their own to play, too -- and fortunately, the man who used to be one of the nation's best golfers is both a local boy and Adele's ex-boyfriend.

That man is Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon), a shell-shocked World War I veteran who has not picked up a club since coming home and who indeed seems to have lost his "swing." He also has not spoken to Adele since he got back, though he reluctantly agrees to play in the tournament.

Out of the mists comes Bagger Vance (Will Smith), an apparently rootless black man who convinces Junuh that he can help him regain his prowess on the links. Simultaneously, he helps him get his life together, too. "A man's grip on his club is like his grip on his world" is one of Bagger's many golf-Zen platitudes that constitute the film's depth.

Director Robert Redford treats the subject of golf more seriously than most movies do, and he actually makes some of the tournament seem exciting, which I wouldn't have supposed possible for that sport. It's a bit of a relief to realize that the movie's focus is the tournament, and that when the tournament ends, the film will shortly follow it. Things would be different if we felt the movie working toward some great truth or poignant statement, but since it's not, we're glad it doesn't belabor what feeble points it has.

Matt Damon and Will Smith could carry almost any movie on their charisma alone, and Jack Lemmon as the narrator and Bruce McGill as sensationalistic pro golfer Walter Hagen add to it. Smith is a little too hip to pull off the "yes, suh," Brer Rabbit-type character he's playing, but he's no less charming than he usually is.

The film's lack of substance is a bit troubling -- it sometimes has the tone of something that's supposed to be wise -- but the sunny atmosphere and chipper attitude keep it from being a deal-breaker.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1998&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/04/03 22:01:01
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User Comments

9/08/14 Joe Smaltz Like watching golf on TV. Or watching paint dry. 2 stars
8/17/09 Dr.Lao Misses most of what mde the book great, but the cast was clearly trying to make it work 4 stars
4/24/06 Carol Baker Again this between Average and Worth a look. Will Smith was pretty good here. 3 stars
11/30/05 Michael A Mix Of Currents: some good, some hidden 4 stars
8/17/05 ES bagger please! = why watch 2 stars
5/29/05 bill mcfarland An enchanting movie that makes you believe in Angels 4 stars
7/04/04 R.W. Welch It helps if you're into golf, I'd guess. Nice cinematography. 3 stars
1/12/04 Santiago If you have never played golf, you have no idea what the movie is about. 5 stars
12/19/03 Kent Worth seeing. Good moral and message 4 stars
12/08/03 Samuel A pretty decent film... 4 stars
9/03/03 Alex Too slow for most, but let's face it a man's grip on his club is like a man's grip on life 5 stars
4/09/03 Jack Bourbon Pretty stupid. And BTW, I like golf. . . probably because I'm a big fan of drinking. 2 stars
11/27/02 Kyle I don't like golf or Damon, but I thought this movie was pretty good. 4 stars
11/19/02 John C Its important not to confuse Thoreau with James Bond... Awesome Movie!!! 5 stars
11/19/02 Bill Hindu holy book Bhagava-gita = Bagger Vance Film is not about Golf at but about Life! 5 stars
7/02/02 Phil M. Aficionado It never quite got its act together to rise above the middle tier of films. Just so-so. 3 stars
6/05/02 Patrick Riley Simply the best film of the year, Bagger Vance rules!!!! 5 stars
12/24/01 ryan very disappointing worst golf movie since caddyshack 2 2 stars
12/20/01 Andrew Carden VERY Disappointing Smith Flick With Boring Screenplay and Bad Acting. 1 stars
6/04/01 keith langman sitting on few amazing scenes 4 stars
4/09/01 Monday Morning Understated story, beautifully filmed. Not everything can be an action flick, you dopes. 5 stars
4/09/01 Jake Tedious game. The world revolves around Damon's character again. Ugh! 1 stars
2/16/01 Joseph Roseberg The movie is not about Bagger Vance at all. But a relaxing diversion for the evening anyway 3 stars
12/30/00 kevin Okay movie, could have been better. At least i like golf C+ 3 stars
12/03/00 KoHawk Boring movie, does nothing for me 2 stars
12/01/00 Angela Murtagh Matt Damon was cute as always but it was nothing to write home about...boring! 2 stars
11/26/00 Fred Moving film. Another good performance by Matt Damon. Enjoyed Smith too. 4 stars
11/25/00 tnt The cast was not Redford nor Freeman..fix it!! 4 stars
11/20/00 Kirsten Predictable, yes...but it still got me. 4 stars
11/16/00 Mark Cinematography is not bad, screenplay sucks though. 3 stars
11/14/00 lil' pebble "I lost my swing" was a metaphor for life. We should all have a Bagger Vance to guide us. 5 stars
11/12/00 poetchuck Interesting, if implausible story 4 stars
11/06/00 Darren Smith Charlize Theron has great teeth. The slack-jawed pain in the ass kid got too much time. 4 stars
11/05/00 Wayne Good performances by Damon & Smith. 4 stars
11/04/00 Jerry Steele This movie is CRAP! 1 stars
11/02/00 Greg Wonderful Moving Film 5 stars
10/30/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble White America's revenge against Tiger Woods. 1 stars
10/26/00 Peterson Toscano Entertaining, but devoid of a social heart, a white, middle class dream come true 1 stars
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  08-Feb-2001 (M)

Directed by
  Robert Redford

Written by
  Steve Pressfield

  Matt Damon
  Will Smith
  Charlize Theron
  Robert Redford
  Morgan Freeman

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