Robert Redford directed this adaptation of a novel by Steven Pressfield that uses golf as a metaphor for one man's spiritual and philosophical journeys. Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) was a gifted amateur golfer from Savannah, GA, until traumatic experiences during World War I shattered his confidence and sent him into a spiral of alcoholism. In 1931, Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron), a beautiful heiress who once loved Junuh, inherits a spectacular but financially ailing golf course after the suicide of her father. To attract customers, she proposed a high-stakes match between the two most famous golfers of the day, Bobby Jones (Joel Gretsch) and Walter Hagen (Bruce McGill). Local businessmen sponsoring the match insist that a local golfer be added to the card, and Junuh is drafted for the position, but it soon becomes obvious that his game is just a shadow of its former glory. When things seem hopeless, a mysterious gentleman named Bagger Vance (Will Smith) volunteers to serve as Junuh's caddy and coach, using a mixture of ancient wisdom and past-life knowledge to help Junuh “remember" the swing he's lost. Jack Lemmon narrates the story, and J. Michael Moncrief plays Lemmon's character as a boy.
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Ratings and Reviews
Critics Consensus: Despite the talent involved in The Legend of Bagger Vance, performances are hindered by an inadequate screenplay full of flat characters and bad dialogue. Also, not much happens, and some critics are offended by how the film glosses over issues of racism.
Lovingly told drama isn't for everyone; some iffy stuff.