His ability made him a star, but it was his passion that made him a legend. Robert "Bobby" Tyre Jones, Jr. (Jim Caviezel, The Passion of Christ) was perhaps the most naturally gifted golfer in the history of the game. Battling a disabling illness and a volcanic temper, Jones struggled through a succession of early defeats to reach the pinnacle of his sport - becoming, at age 28, the only man ever to win the coveted Grand Slam of golf. But it was his devotion to his wife Mary (Claire Forlani, Meet Joe Black) that led to the astounding announcement that shocked the world, in this inspirational true story of one of sport's greatest icons.
Anyone who's ever been passionate about golf will find something to admire in Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
, a staidly reverent biopic about one of the game's greatest champions. In the title role, Jim Caviezel suffers almost as much as he did in The Passion of the Christ
, portraying Jones--who made history by winning golf's elusive Grand Slam (four top tournaments in less than four months) in 1930--as a passionately committed golfer who silently endured chronic pain (a spinal disorder prompted his early retirement at age 28), stomach ailments, emotional torment, and borderline alcoholism while maintaining amateur status in the sport he so magnificently dominated. Jeremy Northam brings much-needed levity and rakish style as Jones's friend and rival golfer Walter Hagen, and Malcolm McDowell adds colourful character as Jones's friend and biographer O.B. Keeler while Claire Forlani suffers the typical biopic plight of the hero's wife, who offers compassion! ate empathy while wishing Jones had more time for family. With its repetitive golf scenes and a sombre tone of martyrdom, Bobby Jones
was partially financed by Jones's estate, which may explain its respectable dullness and instant fate as a box-office dud. Still, director Rowdy (Road House) Herrington is clearly enamoured of his subject, and some of that enthusiasm shines through the gloom. --Jeff Shannon