Swing Away Review
Swing Away is a 2017 drama about a young professional golfer who, after suffering a meltdown on national television escapes to Greece and finds new hope in a young talent.
The sports drama has always relied on a singular theme, a formula that few stray too far from, even if some find creative ways to dress them up. Michael A. Nickles‘ Swing Away isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel per se in this, his latest drama that sticks to the familiar while adding plenty on the sides, making it a safe and inspiring for the whole family.
Zoe Papadopoulos (Shannon Elizabeth) is a popular professional golfer on the LPGA who finds herself on the green in a televised tournament, ready to make what should be an easy short putt. Unfortunately, that’s the weakest part of her game and when she dings it off the cup, she flips out, throwing the ball and ramming the putter into ground. It earns her a big suspension, and the video goes viral, garnering invitations to talk about it on Kimmel and Fallon, but she decides to escape the frenzy and head to Greece instead, her family’s homeland, and take time to find herself. Once there though, she meets ten-year-old Stella (Viktoria Miller), a youngster with golf in her blood who needs direction. Meanwhile, Zoe embraces her heritage and inspires the town to learn the game and stop a greedy American land developer named Glenn (John O’Hurley) from ruining their seaside paradise.
Like most sports films, the sport itself is not really the story, just the catalyst to keep it moving. No one is watching to see the ‘game’ played but rather the growth of the people playing it. This is exactly the motivation behind Swing Away as well and for what it wants to be, it does it well, delivering an easy-breezy adventure that should get the younger target audience interested. It follows the recipe with a deliberate hand, centered on never giving up on one’s dreams and always having hope. It’s sincerely earnest in that message and works hard to keep it true.
With plenty of little montages, the small town comes to love golf and transform the flailing local course into a community, soon facing off in a showdown with Glenn, who has plans to level the place and build a resort. It’s a classic trope of the genre and O’Hurley plays into the villain with aggressive xenophobic zest, painted as the traditional ugly American, constantly insulting the Greek people and their “gibberish” language, making it easy to get behind the finale, even if it’s pure fantasy. It’s all innocuous enough with easy stakes on hand for young viewers to appreciate.
Swing Away is predictable fun, shot on location, with little Miller appropriately adorable and Elizabeth convincing all the way through. She’s great fun to watch and lifts the film with warmth and charm. There are no surprises of course, leading up to the inevitable end, but the film is nonetheless effective and certainly an entertaining and safe watch for the whole family.
Swing Away releases on October 13th.
Swing Away Review
Movie description: Swing Away is a 2017 drama about a young professional golfer who, after suffering a meltdown on national television escapes to Greece and finds new hope in a young talent.
Director(s): Michael A. Nickles
Actor(s): Shannon Elizabeth, John O'Hurley, Karl Theobald