Stephen Speicher

Goal! (2005)

Rate this movie   8 votes

  1. 1. Rate this movie

    • 10
      2
    • 9
      3
    • 8
      3
    • 7
      0
    • 6
      0
    • 5
      0
    • 4
      0
    • 3
      0
    • 2
      0
    • 1
      0
    • 0
      0

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

10 posts in this topic

This might be the best movie I've seen this year. Really.

(Which says more about the movies this year, than it does about this movie, but still...)

It's rags-to-riches soccer movie that shamelessly copies from the Rocky template.

You've seen it before. The young, hardworking kid who struggles against all odds to make a life for himself through his gift of sport. So yes, it's been done before, but not in such a refreshing way, devoid of cynicism and apology.

Santiago Munez, the hero of this story, is a teenage illegal immigrant living in an L.A. barrio, having been brought to America by his dad, who supports his family by working as a gardener.

Santiago has a gift, and more importantly, a joy for soccer, that he can't fully embrace because, as an illegal, he can't make himself known to the colleges. So, he plays for a small club in his neighborhood.

By chance, a scout for one of the clubs in the top English league happens to see him play and offers him a tryout, if he can make his own way to England.

And here we see the theme of the movie dramatized in conflict between our hero and his father. The father believes, in his bitterness, that one should never aspire to rise about one's station, because he believes it to be impossible and disappointment is the only result. But our hero loves his sport and his gift so much that he wants to try, at least.

Beyond that, I can't say any more. This movie actually surprised me on several occasions, and in a good way. I was truly charmed by the goodness of this movie and of its hero, how his own goodness changes the people he meets.

Ever since Rocky, we've seen a million of these underdog sports movies, to the point where it's a well established genre, with its own rules, conventions, and trite cliches. But this movie overcame my normal cynicism with its sweet nature, sincerity and love for its subject.

It's not a great movie. The plot meanders a bit in the middle, and it's probably about 15 minutes too long. But any movie that can get me walking out of the theater with a big smile on my face is something that I'll be happy to tell others about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was a very enjoyable movie, and I agree with a lot of Joel's assessment. There is a surprising amount of true selfishness dramatized in this story, combined with a nice dose of benevolence. As the hero's sense of life and character is revealed in thought and action, you just cannot help but admire him and personally feel for his conflicts and loss, and take pleasure in his achievements. These alone separate Goal! from most other films in this genre.

As to Joel's comment that "any movie that can get me walking out of the theater with a big smile on my face is something that I'll be happy to tell others about," I agree, and I was fortunate enough to see two films like this in the same week. I encourage those seeking that smile to also see Akeelah and the Bee, rated in this post . As much as I enjoyed Goal!, the size and depth of my smile was even greater with Akeelah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a surprising amount of true selfishness dramatized in this story, combined with a nice dose of benevolence. As the hero's sense of life and character is revealed in thought and action, you just cannot help but admire him and personally feel for his conflicts and loss, and take pleasure in his achievements. These alone separate Goal! from most other films in this genre.

It really is quite shocking to me how benevolent this movie is. What makes it work for me is the pure joy of its hero for the thing he loves the most. He doesn't apologize and he isn't ashamed for wanting to be happy. The story allows him to demonstrate this by giving him an antagonist that opposes him with, not a physical obstacle (as is the case with a lot of sports movies), but the idea that he doesn't have the right to be happy, and he shouldn't have ambitions.

I hope I'm not spoiling things by saying that pure joy wins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outstanding! This is one of the very best sports films I've seen. The sport isn't the focus but the background for a romantic tale of a man pursuing relentlessly his selfish passion and his happiness.

I would also compare it to its younger sister film, Akeelah and the Bee. I love both films, but personally give the edge to this film. I felt a larger emotional dynamic range, with more drama and a real sense that his values were at risk. The story is more grown-up and the dialogue is a little bit more explicitly philosophical. But these are personal preference issues, and I fully recommend both films. How wonderful to see both just a few days apart!

Like Joel, I also left the theater with a big fat happy smile on my face. Well done! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just got to this one (praise Netflix). I'm not one for sports let alone sports movies, but as others have pointed out sports (soccer in this instance) was only the vehicle for the wider meaning. I thought it was splendid. I really liked how they conveyed that he was fighting against an idea and not simply his father. It is rare to feel that kind of physical-emotional exhilaration for a character's triumph as this movie made me feel. That and I got the bonus of seeing my favorite rock singer in a cameo in the movie (although I couldn't understand a word he was saying!)

I give it a 10. Goal!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to add a word about this movie. I saw Goal several months ago, so I may be vague on some details.

Goal is an inspirational story about a soccer player, Santiago Munez, who gets a shot at the big time. However, what is unusual about it is that the soccer player is an illegal Mexican immigrant living in California who is spotted by a professional scout and player who played for Manchester United (IIRC). The scout thinks he has what it takes and Santiago, by earning his way, takes him up on the offer.

The plot of the story and the conflict Santiago had with his father over life goals were very straightforward and enjoyable. However, I don’t think the plot was what was most special about the movie. What really stood out about this movie for me, besides the meeting of two distant cultures, was the benevolence of the people in it. From start to finish virtually all (not all) of the characters in the movie come across as good people. These little experiences through out the film, I'm convinced, are what made it all that much more enjoyable to watch. I really felt great after seeing it.

Oh, and one more thing, there is a knock out of a blond in it. Santiago talks to her in one of the scenes. You'll know who I mean when you see her. B)

I give the movie a 10, and definitely a 10 for sense of life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't help but love this movie. Sure it's sentimental, but it's also very heroic and expresses a wonderful sense of life. Besides, I'm a HUGE soccer fan B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites