The Short Game
PG, 1 HR., 39 MINS.
If you’re a fan of exuberant, throat-gripping docs like Spellbound and Brooklyn Castle, let me introduce you to a new must-watch pleasure. In The Short Game, which won the SXSW Audience Award, director Josh Greenbaum follows the lives of the world’s best 7- and 8-year-old golfers as they compete in the annual World Championship of Junior Golf. Worried that you’re not a fan of golf, or of precociously talented kids, for that matter? Don’t be. The eight athletes, including Anna Kournikova’s delightful showman of a little brother, Allan, are complex, driven, tender subjects. And their relationships with their parents, who suffer along with them, some more messily than others, are sympathetic too. Greenbaum structures his high-stakes film beautifully [MDASH] the ending is a joyful surprise. (Netflix will premiere The Short Game on Dec. 12.) A —Karen Valby
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 30 MINS.
Shot in two-week intervals over five years, Michael Winterbottom’s dreary family drama takes stock of the strains on a Scottish couple’s relationship while the husband (John Simm) is locked up in jail and the wife (Shirley Henderson) struggles to soldier on with four young kids at home. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) B- —Chris Nashawaty