The Beautiful Game – The DVDfever Review – Netflix – Bill Nighy

The Beautiful Game The Beautiful Game is obviously a football movie, but this one in particular is set around the Homeless World Cup, an event which I hadn’t heard of before, but have now learned this is actually a thing – and has been in play since 2003, although it’s never actually been held in Rome, where this film is set.

The teams are all 4-a-side, and the matches are only 14 minutes in length, but it’s a jumping-off point for the age-old underdog tale: rag-tag bunch of players, triumph over adversity, etc; and each of them has a heartfelt back-story, Vinny (Micheal WardEmpire of Light) never being around for his daughter, for example.

Bill Nighy (Living) takes the lead as football coach Mal Bradley – a man who’s long since had his heyday, but as we know, Bill Nighy always plays Bill Nighy.

Amongst the rest of the cast, USA’s Rosita (Cristina RodloNo One Gets Out Alive) is a great scorer, but the film makes heavy work of the situation where England’s Jason (Sheyi Cole) says the wrong thing to Rosita, which is a daft throwaway bad chat-up line of, “Have you got any English in you?” (No) “Would you like some?”

I heard the same thing decades ago. It’s a joke, but in 2024, when a man is deemed of saying something wrong every time they open their mouths, you’d think he’d committed a cardinal sin.

Then add in some cliches, such as tournament organiser and the film’s sole female lead, Gabriella (Valeria Golino, who I haven’t seen onscreen since the Hot Shots! movies in the ’90s), witnessing one of the lads in the buff, and one team’s chances of taking part being seriously affected by the fact they’re stuck in immigration control.

The Beautiful Game has genuine points to make about homelessness and all the problems that can arise from it – since the point of the event is to end the problem, while Nighy is affable enough, and this film can be shown to anyone without causing offence, but on the whole, it’s nothing to write home from Rome about.

It just trundles along like a car on three wheels: It’ll get there, eventually, but it takes far longer than it should, and you just know there are far better options available.

As an aside, for some reason, this film is a 12A-certificate. I can’t see any reason why it would go over a PG in terms of general content, although one of the lads’ situations could account for the higher cert.

There’s a brief moment after the credits, but nothing plot-specific. Still, it’s…:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

The Beautiful Game is on Netflix from Friday March 29th, isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

Check out the trailer below:

The Beautiful Game – Official Trailer – Netflix

Detailed specs:

Running time: 125 minutes
Release date: March 29th 2024
Studio: Netflix
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Score: 3/10

Director: Thea Sharrock
Producers: Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Colin Farrell, Ben Knight, Anita Overland
Screenplay: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Music: Adem Ilhan

Mal Bradley: Bill Nighy
Vinny: Micheal Ward
Gabriella: Valeria Golino
Rosita: Cristina Rodlo
Jason: Sheyi Cole
Kevin: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
Cal: Kit Young
Nathan: Callum Scott Howells
Mika: Aoi Okuyama
Protasia: Susan Wokoma
Sian: Sian Reese-Williams
Ellie: Jessye Romeo
Aldar: Robin Nazari