When it comes to awards shows, we love to spoil ourselves. We watch in awe as the big winner takes home the lion’s share of the glory, while we’re left with a cringeworthy memory of how much we hated his or her performance. But what if we could change our tune and celebrate the performances that gave us goosebumps?
Here’s the opportunity to do exactly that. Before you roll your eyes and click away, let us explain. Last year, Netflix released The Commitment, an original movie that premiered on the streaming platform. The film marked an important milestone for a number of reasons, one of which is that it was the first Netflix production to win an award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. And the accolades didn’t stop there. The Commitment won the festival’s coveted grand jury prize, as well as the audience award. Additionally, it picked up two other awards at the festival, including the award for best director!
From the very beginning, it was abundantly clear that James McKeon was a man on a mission to change the face of award show history. Inspired by the life of Jack Emmitt – a Southern gentleman and scholar – McKeon set out to prove that a film doesn’t necessarily have to be bad to be a box-office bomb. As it turns out, The Commitment is anything but that. It’s the perfect hybrid of quirky charm and devastating emotional impact.
For those unfamiliar, Emmitt is widely considered to be the greatest golfer of all time. He was also a prolific songwriter and singer who recorded 13 albums during his lifetime. It is believed that he wrote and recorded the song “I Love You More Than Words Can Express” in just one afternoon. What makes the song so special is that it was recorded in the booth next to Elvis Presley. As a tribute to his legendary career, the song was chosen as one of the three official anthems of the 2020 Masters Tournament. Needless to say, this was a man not to be messed with. It’s safe to assume that McKeon felt a connection to Emmitt upon meeting the older man. While Emmitt was certainly no stranger to controversy, McKeon avoided all fights he could and respected his privacy. The only time that McKeon’s name appeared in the media was when Emmitt’s friends and family acknowledged or denied that he was gay. For the most part, McKeon kept his personal life private, which made him appear more genuine to the audience. We couldn’t help but be on Jimmy’s side, rooting for this underdog who worked his way up from nothing. And we were not alone.
Jimmy McKeon is the director of The Commitment, a film that is as charming as it is heartbreaking. Netflix on YouTube
The Charm, the Humor, and the Tear Jerking Moments
Let’s take a closer look at The Commitment and see what makes it so special. First off, the director made the right call in casting Tom Hanks in the role of Jack Emmitt. Hanks stepped into the shoes of an all-time great and delivered a performance that was impeccable. He captures the spirit of the man while also highlighting his eccentricities. For those who grew up in the 80s, you’ll instantly recognize Tom Hanks. He played the role of Mark Darcy in the classic 1989 film Moonstruck and was also the voice of Woody in Toy Story. We couldn’t ask for a better interpretation of Jack Emmitt.
But The Commitment is more than a remarkable performance by Tom Hanks. It also boasts a wonderful ensemble cast, led by Rebecca Ferguson, whose portrayal of Anita Emmitt is sure to give you chills. She effortlessly weaves an intricate story that has a deeply profound impact on the viewer. Be it dark or light humour, The Commitment has something to offer for everyone.
One of the things that make The Commitment so special is its screenplay, which is both hilarious and moving. The story follows Jack’s journey to win the largest golf tournament of all time, which he accomplishes by using his wiles (and a little bit of magic) to woo wealthy businesspeople and celebrities. The script is filled with memorable one-liners and quotable lines that will have you chuckling throughout. The dialogue is clever and sharp, without being overbearing or forced. It’s a rare feat to master and a definite indicator of great storytelling.
The Subtle Subtext
While you’re undoubtedly aware of The Commitment’s main plot, we should point out that it’s a much deeper film than it first appears. One of the things that makes it so special is that it’s the rare case of an original screenplay by an unknown writer being hailed as one of the greatest the genre has to offer. Many of the films that made it to #1 on the box office charts were in fact based on either comic books or novels, but The Commitment is original!
You may be wondering how a film that is essentially a comedy could possess such poignant undertones. While it’s a common occurrence for comedians to write about serious issues, the brilliant minds behind The Commitment used their humorous lens to tackle issues such as homophobia, family dysfunction, and the struggle for equal rights.
A Film for All Ages
If you’re looking to cheer yourself up, The Commitment is the perfect film for the job. While some may find the story heavy, it’s actually a tale of heartbreak and triumph, perfectly encapsulating the trials and tribulations that are common in everyday life. It wouldn’t be inappropriate to describe The Commitment as a coming-of-age story, due primarily to its central character’s struggle to find his identity in a world that doesn’t always welcome LGBTQ+ individuals. Yet, even in the face of adversity, Jack never gives up and pushes forward, ultimately earning the respect of others through his strength of character.
It’s Time for an Unexpected Twist
If you’ve seen one of the trailers for The Commitment, you’ll know exactly what is coming. It would be wise to avoid any spoilers however, as you’ll not be able to appreciate the full impact of the twist if you’ve already seen it. For the most part, the twist serves as an added emotional moment, one that is unexpected yet satisfying. It’s an effective device that allows the screenwriter to probe deeper into the story’s themes and character arcs. Moreover, the twist doesn’t take away from the film’s emotional impact, rather it enhances it. The film ends on a very high note, leaving you with a sense of completeness that is rare in today’s world of endless sequels and spinoffs.
While The Commitment is filled with amazing performances, including an Oscar-worthy one from Tom Hanks, the real prize is the brilliant screenplay. Not only does it deserve to be seen by as many people as possible, but it also holds the key to crafting some truly memorable one-liners and quotable lines. For anyone who loves a good story with a poignant message, The Commitment is a film to behold.