Robert Redford directed this adaptation of a novel by Steven Pressfield that uses golf as a metaphor for one man's spiritual and philosophical journeys. Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) was a gifted amateur golfer from Savannah, GA, until traumatic experiences during World War I shattered his confidence and sent him into a spiral of alcoholism. In 1931, Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron), a beautiful heiress who once loved Junuh, inherits a spectacular but financially ailing golf course after the suicide of her father. To attract customers, she proposed a high-stakes match between the two most famous golfers of the day, Bobby Jones (Joel Gretsch) and Walter Hagen (Bruce McGill). Local businessmen sponsoring the match insist that a local golfer be added to the card, and Junuh is drafted for the position, but it soon becomes obvious that his game is just a shadow of its former glory. When things seem hopeless, a mysterious gentleman named Bagger Vance (Will Smith) volunteers to serve as Junuh's caddy and coach, using a mixture of ancient wisdom and past-life knowledge to help Junah "remember" the swing he's lost. Jack Lemmon narrates the story, and J. Michael Moncrief plays Lemmon's character as a boy.
by Mark Deming synopsis