Release Date: September 2, 2011
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Sports, Adaptation
Run Time: 105 min.
Director: Matthew Dean Russell
Actors: Robert Duvall, Lucas Black, Deborah Ann Woll, Brad Geraghty, Melissa Leo, Kathy Baker

Rookie pro golfer Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black, Get Low) was on the verge of going big time when he crashed and burned at a tournament. Big time. Crumbling under the weight of his father’s expectations, Luke has the sort of meltdown destined to make the highlight reels of every network on the planet and become an instant YouTube sensation.

Speeding away from the scene of the accident, as it were, Luke finds himself sidelined by another accident—this one involving a bull, a fence, and his car. He’s picked up by local rancher Johnny (Robert Duvall, Crazy Heart) who takes him into town. “Town” being Utopia, Texas, population 373. No, wait, make that 375 . . . “Megan had twins last week.”

As it turns out, Johnny is more than a rancher—he’s a former pro golfer with his very own set of links way out there in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. Coincidence? Only for those who don’t believe that God works in mysterious ways. “I don’t think your coming here was an accident," Johnny tells Luke. “Spend seven days with me in Utopia, and you’ll find your game.” And so he does.

Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking this sounds like a golf version of Doc Hollywood or, more recently, Cars. There are some similarities, but they won’t keep this charming story down. For one thing, Seven Days in Utopia, based on David L. Cook’s book Golf’s Sacred Journey, has more eternal life lessons than either former film.

While the story is built around golf and those who worship it, there’s plenty to keep non-golfers interested—like a budding romance between Luke and local girl Sarah (Deborah Ann Woll) a horse whisperer-in-training who seems to have a certain touch with people, too. Utopia (a real place, by the way) offers some rather glorious scenery, as well.