Seve (2014)

Seve (2014)

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"You won't play golf, you'll be a farmer, my boy!"
“You won’t play golf, you’ll be a farmer, my boy!”

Twitter Plot Summary: The life and golfing career of one of the all time greats – Seve Ballesteros.

Five Point Summary:

1. Laboured, cliche dramatised youth.
2. Playing golf on the beach.
3. Seve’s golfing legacy is explored.
4. The sad decline of one of golf’s greats.
5. An uplifting ending that brings the story full circle.

Taking a slightly different turn to recent documentaries such as Senna and One Night In Turin, Seve mixes archive footage of possibly the greatest golfer ever to tackle the sport with a young actor, Jose Luis Gutierrez, portraying the young Seve who must fight against his poor upbringing in order to follow his passion for golf.

This dramatisation of Seve’s early life does work in places, but it pales in comparison to the real footage of the golfing legend that is littered throughout the film. The dramatised footage, whilst competent for the most part, ends up reducing the emotional impact of the final 15 minutes which lead towards Seve’s untimely demise in 2011. This portion of his story, whilst undoubtedly sad and traumatic for his loved ones, really deserved more than the few minutes of time that this film permitted. Instead we get an almost cliche representation of growing up and battling against the odds, and appear to have been introduced into the film just to show the parts of Seve’s life that were not captured on screen.

Some aspects of this work because of how it is presented, overlaying commentator audio from some of Seve’s greatest performances with the young Seve winning the Caddie’s tournament at his local club, and taking on a much older opponent after his brother entered into a potentially costly bet with the golf club’s rich owner. There is little focus given to Seve’s personal life outside of the golfing world, and that would appear to be deliberate – he did after all dedicate most of his life to mastering the game at the expense of spending time with his family. It would have still benefitted from more of this side of his life being seen, even if this was only by two or three additional scenes. Sadly these glimpses into the possibly more negative aspects of his life are not covered in any real detail, but if they had they would have acted as a counterpoint to his successes on the golf course.

Not from the film, just a shot of the Great One. Sorry, The Rock.
Not from the film, just a shot of the Great One. Sorry, The Rock.

Where it starts to come into its own is Seve’s influence on the Ryder Cup in his later career, and his friendship with Jose Maria Olazabel which allows a real insight into the man himself. Mixing this with some highlights from his earlier career, most notably the ability to play a shot from almost anywhere (even in the car park), it’s clear to everyone that his many years of dedication and practice as a youngster had paid off.

What Seve the movie ultimately represents is an incredibly talented and dedicated golfer who not only pushed to be the best he could be in his chosen field, but wouldn’t let life get him down even when he fell ill. To say the life story of Seve Ballesteros is an inspirational one would be entirely accurate, although at the same time it also demonstrates the possible issues that total dedication to the cause may create in your personal and maybe even professional life. Either way, there’s a lot of positive messages to take from the film, and is for now at least a worthy celebration of the career and talent of Seve Ballesteros.

Score: 2.5/5

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