The Phantom of the Open

The Phantom of the Open, 2022, 3 ½ stars

Relying on Rylance

Exclusive to MeierMovies, April 1, 2022

With three Tonys, three BAFTAs, two Oliviers and an Oscar, England’s Mark Rylance is the greatest actor most Americans seem to still not know. Let’s hope The Phantom of the Open – like Dunkirk, Waiting for the Barbarians, Ready Player One, The BFG, The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Don’t Look Up and Bridge of Spies (for which he won the Academy Award) – will further acquaint audiences with his astonishing talent.

If Rylance were portraying a toad, he would still be revelatory. So imagine how entertaining he is in Phantom, in which he plays real-life Maurice Flitcroft, a crane operator from northern England who, in 1976, became the “world’s worst golfer” after he shot the most dismal 18 holes in the history of the British Open qualifying round.

Craig Roberts’ dramedy (penned by Simon Farnaby and based on Farnaby and Scott Murray’s book) is, at its heart, about perseverance, respect, family and utter lunacy. Like Flitcroft’s putting and driving, Phantom sometimes loses its way. But on the whole, and thanks in part to a wonderful performance by Sally Hawkins as Flitcroft’s wife, Phantom is the Ed Wood of links flicks.

© 2022 MeierMovies, LLC

This capsule review is part of my coverage of the 2022 Florida Film Festival. For more information about the event and an index of reviews of other festival films, go here. For more information on this movie, visit IMDB.