The Beautiful Game Movie Review: This sports drama resonates deeply

The Beautiful Game Movie Review: This sports drama resonates deeply

Despite being a sports drama that awaits the apparent triumph of the underdogs in the end, the film doesn’t depend on the chills before the end. Instead, it finds its heart in the breezy exchange of wits that avoids it becoming a preachy melodrama
The Beautiful Game(3 / 5)

In one of the final scenes in Netflix's sports drama, The Beautiful Game, Micheal Ward's Vinny, the protagonist, quotes a famous saying, "We don't save ourselves, we save each other." This is an overarching philosophy that ties every bit and piece of the film, allowing it to soar high on emotions without necessarily relying on groundbreaking storytelling.


Director: Thea Sharrock
Cast:  Micheal Ward, Beckett Handley, Tahvae Hunte
Streamer: Netflix


The relationship between underdogs and sports dramas has always been built on a bedrock of tried and tested templates. The Beautiful Game tries to bring in some new ideas even within the limitations of the template, like by having its sport be an International  Homeless World Cup. The story is set in motion as coach Mal, a delicate yet ambitious yesteryear footballer played by an impressive Bill Nighy, brings the haughty Vinny into a pack of five homeless men who are set to represent England at the International Homeless Football tournament in Rome.

The novel treatment in The Beautiful Game takes centre stage, featuring political undertones and inclusive portrayals of characters, as the team consists of six men from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. This isn’t quite the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, where white men majorly represent England, but a competition to be seen in the context of homelessness.

Despite being a sports drama that awaits the apparent triumph of the underdogs in the end, The Beautiful Game doesn’t depend on the chills before the end. Instead, it finds its heart in the breezy exchange of wits that avoids it becoming a preachy melodrama. For instance, while Vinny blames his teammates for losing the semifinals, citing their past and how they all are failures, as the mood sets for a blame game, one of the teammates, who is a Syrian refugee, says, "I was a barber before I came here, who would like an excellent shave?" The scene cuts to where these homeless footballers get a shave from one of their co-players. Such organic segues land as significant events that never let you detach from the emotional connection with the characters.



In the scene where the same character talks about how Rome's sky is peaceful because there aren't any bombs, and similarly when he chooses not to participate in a game due to political differences with the opposite teammate and then proceeds to hug that same person, the scene speaks volumes in the current scenario. The film effectively conveys subtle political undertones without making it a plot device.

As the end credits roll, The Beautiful Game emphasizes that we don't save ourselves. We save each other, whether it's through a game of football or the kindness we show one another.

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