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Seven Days in Utopia

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

“Seven Days in Utopia” is based on a best-selling 2009 novel by renowned sports psychologist Dr. David Cook: Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.
When Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black) ignores the advise of his lifelong coach and caddy, his dad Martin (Joseph Lyle Taylor), Luke loses and his dad walks off the course.  Luke has a meltdown and takes off. He drives the lonesome roads of Texas until he crashes his car in a field trying to avoid a very large bull – a good metaphor for his own hard head and heart. A rancher, Johnny (Robert Duval) rides his horse to the scene of the accident and offers aid.
They go to the local diner where Lily (Melissa Leo) and her daughter Sara (Deborah Ann Woll) tend to his cuts. Sara’s hopeful boyfriend Jake (Brian Geraghty) looks on, immediately jealous. Johnny offers hospitality to Luke at his ranch-motel; if Luke will give him a week, Johnny will get him and his golf back on track.
This is a perfect film for a youth or parish retreat because it goes through the phases of the spiritual exercises in many ways and it is totally appropriate for young people. Day one, Luke has to write his life story and look for his identity, the next day they go fly fishing, then they paint, and so forth. The rodeo poker exercise is very funny.
“Seven Days in Utopia” has much to recommend it but the two things that bother me about it are that the camera can’t take its eyes off of Lucas Black’s face or the Bible – reinforced with a good pat now and then. I really wish the filmmakers would have trusted the audience more and trusted their own skills to choose subtlety over the “in your face” approach. And they missed the obvious by beginning with Easter Sunday and then ignoring it at the end. Easter, with themes of redemption, resurrection, new life are all there, but instead of good parallel structure chose another close up of the Bible, this time with the translation visible. It’s a little cheesy.
The PGA and the Golf Channel both supported this film. KJ Choi Asia’s greatest golf champion, plays ‘Tae Kwon Oh” and Luke and he battle it out at the end when Luke draws a wild card position for a pro tournament. The sequence will even keep the non-golfer interested. The opening cinematography especially, is beautiful.

Golf takes self-knowledge, discipline, a community and—soul.

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Catherine of Alexandria: According to the <i>Legend of St. Catherine</i>, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred. 
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