Nine for IX Shorts: Love & Payne (2014)

Directed by Hannah Storm

Love & Payne is a good indicator of what these short films from the Nine for IX series will be. For one, as a series about women, this film features Payne Stewart, famed professional MALE golfer. Such is the state of sports, in this country at least. Sports are so male centric, and what this series is and has done is wonderful for women in sports. This film shows us the female behind the male sport. We may all know Payne Stewart, who he was, what he accomplished, but I certainly didn’t know who Tracy Stewart was, and she is the actual focus of this film about Payne Stewart.

Stewart died tragically in a plane crash in 1999, just months after a dramatic victory in the US Open against Phil Mickelson. Even though I was young, I remember both quite well. Payne was a fan favorite. A big, friendly personality who wore knickers. He had flare. Tracy was his rock, supporting and loving Payne all through his career and even still after. Hannah Storm’s film manages to shed light on the woman behind this famed man, the woman who was always there, even when Payne was trying to find himself, when he was still growing up.

I applaud Storm for tackling this story and this angle. I love seeing this side of the story. However, as with Storm’s other film in the series, Swoopes, her direction is far too sentimental and dramatic for my liking. For the life of me, why did she have to film Tracy walking in slow motion with soft touch photography on a golf course? Storm uses these types of techniques throughout, and they only serve to distract from the strong story that is at the core. Ultimately it brings the film down, but it is still worth checking out to see this unique story.

** 1/2 – Average

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