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Golf a metaphor for ‘Utopia’s’ sermon on faith

Fri., Sept. 2, 2011

Many golfers who spend their weekends chasing tiny white balls across long ranges of green grass consider the sport an almost religious experience.

“Seven Days in Utopia” takes that spiritual approach one step further to show how one man finds true religion through golf.

Based on David L. Cook’s novel, “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia,” the movie follows Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black) as he finally reaches the goal his father has pushed him to obtain: a chance to play professional golf.

His debut is a disaster, so he escapes from the spotlight in the sleepy little Texas town of Utopia. It’s a place where Sunday socials, neighborly ways and catching lightning bugs still exist.

It’s also where Chisholm meets Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall), a former pro golfer with the wisdom of Yoda. His mentoring of Chisholm in the ways of golf and life turn the film into a putting-green version of “The Karate Kid.”

All of this golf talk is just a smoke screen for the film’s true message: The biggest thing Chisholm needs is faith and until he finds a higher power than golf, he’s always going to be chipping out of the sand traps of life.

Duvall could read a telephone book and have it sound like the words of a wise man. Although the religious message is quite clear, he has a way of presenting the film’s sermon without making it sound preachy.

Black, on the other hand, just doesn’t have the acting power to make heavy emotional scenes work. When he finally has his epiphany, it doesn’t resonate with the power such an emotional moment should have.

Despite its flaws, “Seven Days in Utopia,” has a good heart and delivers its message with an even hand. It’s not a hole-in-one, but it certainly plays up to par with similar movies such as “Facing the Giants.”


 

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