Goal! The Dream Begins (2005) Poster

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Soccer Has Never Been This Good.
tfrizzell10 June 2006
Overwhelming under-dog story that has been done a hundred times and is definitely cliché-riddled, but I loved it nevertheless. "Goal!: The Journey Begins" is the first of a trilogy as a young Mexican illegal immigrant (Kuno Becker) in Los Angeles has a chance at the brass ring in England of all places playing soccer for one of their professional teams after being discovered by scout/former player Stephen Dillane. Tony Plana (always under-rated and excellent) is outstanding as Becker's cold father and Marcel Iures gives an incredible performance as the British team's head coach. Becker also unwittingly teaches a brash superstar (Alessandro Nivola) who has forgotten the real reasons why he plays soccer why the game is so important and also finds companionship in a strange land with beautiful nurse Anna Friel. Great cinematography and a wonderful score make for a very moving and entertaining experience as the film touches strong emotions of love, friendship, sacrifice and ultimate success against all odds. A bit long and not totally original, but still done well enough to be a winner that does accomplish its goal in the end. 4 stars out of 5.
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10/10
One of the best movies this year--Great Family Film
fats10fats77 June 2006
This movie was tops! It's a great film pretty much anyone in your family could see and enjoy. The way it was released here in the States as a PG film with some scenes edited out, it's inoffensive enough. I've since gotten the DVD bootleg floating around here in New York and have seen the edited scenes. They really weren't necessary to make the film a good one (so you're not missing anything if you're only seeing the version released here in the States).

It was really nice to see less known actors in the roles. I'm personally sick and tired of the same little old crowd always getting parts in everything. It's a fantastic mixture when you can get an actor who is well known in Romania (Marcel Iures) but relatively unknown in the rest of the world and Kuno Becker (again known in Latin America but unknown to everyone else) and put them in a British film with a U.S. actor (Alessandro Nivola) along with British actors. Really clever, nice ethnic mix and an unusual one--less predictable than the usual casting that goes on out there--kinda opens the pool of actors that we're currently exposed to all the time.

A lot of people are complaining about the football (soccer) aspects of the movie saying that it's not real, etc. But I think they're failing to see that the movie is not about the sport itself (although I think there's a fair amount of that in there as well) as much as it is about the people who play it and some of the backstage politics that are linked with it. I thought these were shown tactfully and were just enough as they were coupled with the human factor --the lives of the players, their loves, their hates, competitive spirit, etc.

What was good about having a Latino as a protagonist in the film is that it shows the wider scope of fans football has. It is not only popular in Europe but in Latin America as well. The film could have easily gone down the eurocentric route of making the story about a European case, but this made it a bit more unusual and interesting. Since Santiago was an illegal immigrant who obviously took the great risk to come to the States and didn't really have much going for him here (as is the case for most illegal immigrants anyway and is becoming more and more true with the newer policies being undertaken here) his risk of going to England to try his luck there is completely plausible to me. I have actually seen similar things tried by other Latinos going to Europe to see if their luck is better there than here for obtaining residence, etc.

Some people may feel that the portrayal of the Latino family was stereotypical, but on the whole, I thought it was positive with the characters being honest and working hard for a living rather than being common hoodlums as they are sadly put forth in many films. Santiago was shown to be a modest young man who is not too full of himself and a generally likable character.
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9/10
A Nutshell Review: Goal!
DICK STEEL5 October 2005
G-G-GOAL!!! I'm so pleased that there's finally a decent movie about soccer, a sport which for the longest time, doesn't seem to get movie producers excited to put out on screen. Having FIFA sanction this film means getting some realism injected, and lending to the authenticity of is the English Premier League club Newcastle United, together with a host of real life soccer superstars like Beckham, Zidane and Raul.

While the settings and the game results are real, we follow the fictional story of an illegal Mexican immigrant to Los Angeles, Santiago Munez, street footballer extrodinaire. He gets his lucky break when an ex-Newcastle United player turned scout, Glen Foy, chances upon his games, and invites him over to England for trials.

For a guy who's struggling to make ends meet, this presents the perfect opportunity to take a stab at his dream. But tension builds as his father disapproves and is skeptical at both the chance as well as his son's gift to make it big. So he leaves his real dad and family behind, to follow in the footsteps of Foy, his surrogate father in England.

The highlight of the movie is not the real football games that the actors get seamlessly transplanted onto, but rather the many trials and tribulations that Munez goes through to earn his rightful place in the squad. His disastrous first appearance almost made him take the first plane home, and I'd bet many in the audience thought it would be a breeze actually for him to make it to first team. Thankfully, the focus was on his sheer determination to overcome the lack of niceties towards newcomer rookies like himself, and the difficulties and temptations which fill his 30 days trial that Foy literally begged for.

What you read in the papers of the decadent lifestyle of footballers are all in here - the booze, the parties, the clubbing, the women, even video games (taking a stab at David James maybe?). Munez gets introduced to these by fellow teammate and cocky new German acquisition Gavin Harris, whose partying lifestyle takes a toll on his game, and becomes the Toon Army's boo-boy. It's fantastic how these two characters contrast each other, and help each other along the way.

For non-fans of the beautiful game, fear not, you're not gonna be alienated in this movie, as it doesn't sink into technicalities like the dreaded offside rule. You'll enjoy the movie simply because of the strong human drama weaved into the story, as well as the familiarity of easily identifiable themes of hard work, right ethics, living your dreams and fulfilling your aspirations.

Newcastle fans however, will rejoice, as the hallowed grounds of St James Park gets put on the silver screen. For fans without the opportunity of visiting their beloved club, they can gawk at the dressing room, the gym, the dugout, the pitch up close, the city neighbourhood, and "mingle" with fellow fanatical Geordies. Club captain Alan Shearer makes appearances too, as do the many other first team players. But the screen version of the club manager looks uncannily modelled after Arsenal's Arsene Wenger. Fans of Fulham, Chelsea and Liverpool can also see their heroes on screen as well.

Santiago Munez is played by a relative newcomer, Mexican actor Kuno Becker, who was put on real soccer training to improve his skills and make him look credible and natural with the ball at his feet. At certain angles with his short crop, he looks like Michael Owen, who now is playing for Newcastle (he wasn't when this movie was filmed).

I so dig the soundtrack, especially the guitar piece which opened the movie, and track from the trailer which also made its way into the movie - Kasabian's Club Foot, and various pieces by Brit-band Oasis. A pity it's only out in the stores on October 16 (based on Amazon), but I'll be there to pick it up when it hit the shelves.

The ending, even though it wrapped up all the pieces nicely, is a bit abrupt, but I guess it would lead directly into the planned sequels of a trilogy, which involve Real Madrid and the World Cup. This is one movie which can spark someone's interest in soccer, and I'd recommend it to both fans and non-fans alike. Don't let this movie dribble past you!
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9/10
Great movie - loads of fun
sheppypants29 September 2006
I think we would all likely agree the "rags to riches" story has been done to death by Hollywood. But, when someone comes along and gets it right the results can be truly excellent. Perhaps the best know of this genre is original "Rocky" movie. "Goal - the dream begins" gets it right, even though it is loaded with all the clichés that generally accustom this kind of movie. "Goal" has the whole recipe here - the unknown with the heart of gold, a unique and virtuosic talent, from a downtrodden and hopeless setting, the brooding and unsupportive parent who refuses to accept his child's potential, the doting grandparent who can see the potential that lies within our hero, the outsider who promises a way to fame and fortune and so on... But, like the first few "Rocky" movies, this one delivers without falling into the usual schmaltzy pitfalls.

Kuno Becker is very well cast as promising young player Santiago Munez. He is earnest, honest, and gives off that glow of burning desire to be the best. My only knock is that he doesn't quite physically look the part at times. When they line him up with real professionals he looks a touch slight and skinny, not quite boasting the musleclature of a professional athlete. The supporting cast works out well, too. No real complaints to offer as everyone seems to be a very good fit. Alessandro Nivola's dialect could use a spot of work, but no one outside of the UK will really pick up on this. I very much liked Marcel Irues as Newcastle United's Manager. He seemed to be a totally natural fit for the role and is a shoe in for the lead if someone ever decides to make the "Aime Jacquet story".

Where this movie really takes off is on the pitch, whether its a park in LA, the training ground in Newcastle, or St. James Park, the home of Newcastle United. The soccer scenes are exceptionally well done and look realistic. Real players feature prominently all over film, both on and off the pitch, and not just in walk on cameos, ie "Bend it like Beckham". The action is convincing, the tackles are crunching, and the goals are authentic and not the usual over the top spectacle (anyone remember Pele's winner from "Victory"?) Becker fits in well with the action scenes, though it's odd how you never really see all of Becker on the ball and usually just the waist up, kind of like they found some else to do all the little flicks and stepovers...

And for all those who say "it can't happen", I beg to differ. This movie is not fantasy. In fact, they could have made a biopic about a young Calgarian from Western Canada who somehow manages to make Bayern Munich, works his way up through the reserves, and in his premier season with the senior side wins the league and European Cup, makes the England side for World Cup 2002, and returns again to be the best England player in World Cup 2006! Maybe someday someone out there will make the "Owen Hargreaves story".

All in all, great stuff and I'm already looking forward to Goal 2 & 3.
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8/10
A Film with a Heart
gradyharp26 September 2006
Yes, this is another sports biography that offers a stage on which to play out the drama of the possibilities of dreams of the disenfranchised to become a reality. There are many, many films like this one and will doubtless be more: something there is about the 'team spirit' in the identity crisis of whether or not the poor (financially) new guy will be able to make the physical grade that draws large audiences. It is a formula and it often works despite weak structure and production values.

In the case of GOAL! THE DREAM BEGINS the viewer can put aside the doubts as to whether the film can make it on its own: this little low profile movie is well written (Mike Jefferies's story adapted for the screen by Adrian Butchart), well directed by Danny Cannon who knows well how to integrate live sports scenes into the drama, and consistently well acted by a troop of excellent actors, beginning with the very vibrant, handsome, and charismatic Kuno Becker ('Lucia, Lucia', 'Imagining Argentina', 'Once Upon a Wedding', 'English as a Second Language'), a 28 year old Mexican actor with an assured future in the lead role of Santiago. The supporting roles are classy contributions by the gifted Alessandro Nivola ('The Sisters', 'Junebug', 'The Clearing', 'Laurel Canyon', 'Love's Labour's Lost', 'Mansfield Park' etc), the very beautiful Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane, Marcel Iures, Tony Plana, Miriam Colon to mention only a few.

The story is secondary: as a child devotee of soccer Santiago immigrates illegally into the US with his family, grows up in Los Angeles working as a gardener, a dishwasher and other menial tasks while he consumes his spare time with developing his unique talents for soccer. Despite his father's insistence that he remain with the family business of gardening, Santiago is discovered by a scout on vacation from England, a bond develops and soon Santiago is off to Newcastle to pursue his dream of being a professional soccer player. The rest is pretty obvious - the ups and downs of an asthmatic kid competing in the wild world of sports. The star of the moment is Alessandro Nivola and despite the differences in their goals and social life they become friends who help each other in tender ways. There is of course a love interest, telephone calls and encouragement form Santiago's grandmother, adjustments to life in the UK -all altering the road toward Santiago's eventually attained goal.

The film is a bit lengthy (two hours) for the content, but then we understand this is the first of a trilogy, so get used to the story and the characters as they all remain constant for the next two installments. Whatever reservations you may have about sitting through another predictable sports movie just relax them: Kuno Becker alone is worth the time invested in this very fine little film. Grady Harp
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8/10
Finally, a football film worth talking about!
thomas-hardcastle-227 August 2008
This film is basically Rocky but with a football. It's a rags-to-riches tale of a promising Mexican youngster with nothing in life, apart from incredible footballing skills.

Some of the CGI football shots are poor, but the budget for this film was not massive, and they did what they could. The use of cameos from the likes of Shearer, Zidane, Beckham and Raul added to both the credibility and believability of the overall piece.

The film is sad and at times funny, and can be enjoyed by the whole family, including people with no interest in football. It's a story of triumph over adversity, and of people pulling together to help someone get ahead in life, by doing what they do best.

Overall, this is the best football film ever made, in my opinion. You can tell that the people who made it knew their subject matter - something that simply cannot be said for Green Street (Hooligans) which concentrated on fan violence, rather than the beautiful game.
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10/10
An All Time Favorite
rdwing2819 May 2006
Right from the beginning this movie dose a great job of keeping your attention. It shows how hard it really is for any athlete, in this case a soccer player to make it pro. Even though the movie is not based off of a true story it feels as if it should be and there are many obstacles that(Munez)has to overcome throughout the movie. Overall the movie has become an all time favorite of mine and i have already seen it twice. It is a sleeper and if you are a fan of the English premier league or just of soccer in general you should definitely go and see this movie. Its worth your time and money and i think that you too will fall in love with it just like i have. So please go see the movie Goal cause you definitely won't be disappointed.
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7/10
Scores and celebrates an impossibly new beginning for Football/Soccer Films
Until recently in history, whenever the world of film and the world of football combined, the results had often been negligible. With the GOAL! trilogy, a new precedent has been set for not only the genre, but also for the global sport itself, in terms of its plausibility in film towards its millions of demanding fans worldwide.

What this film does on the base level is to authentically present the game in high quality realism on the silver screen. However, that alone does not lend the film its credo. What makes it stand as the definitive standard bearer for films of football (given how every other sport especially American ones have managed to succeed filmwise- Bull Durham, Space Jam, Mighty Ducks, Remembering the Titans, etc) is that it carries many thematic layers on its back, pushes the frontiers of the genre with depth in the storyline, and finally aces in delivering a film that merges drama with sport, hype and overall verisimilitude in all content elements.

Obviously, every critic knows that the methodology of such a delivery is that it requires realism, and in cinematography especially- exactly what the film provides, and as a result gives it that definitive edge. Soccer films have never been entirely authentic, due to factors as diverse as action mapping, as well as dramatic scope. Furthermore, fans of the sport knew that nothing in cinema could ever approximate the sheer unscriptable drama of the actual game. Until GOAL! came along. When FIFA commissioned and granted the rights for the film to Danny Cannon, the air of realism was set in motion already, because albeit being fictional, it carries the authority of the universal game as fans know it because of its simulated parallels- real clubs, real superstars like Zidane, Raul, Shearer, etc, and realities of the game's actual hierarchies and bureaucracies have been surmised- reserves, leagues, scouts, agents and pressures.

AG Salomon/Adidas may have pumped advertising dollar into this film for placement of their teams (Newcastle United, Real Madrid) and sponsored players for marketing, but in a sense, when the result is this authentic, can you blame the corporations for input? In fact, fans might even have to thank them for producing what can be the first high profile and quality football film on record. Just recall the maudlin world of football film until the recent revival of films of the genre, which incidentally mirror the revolution of football and its branding that began in the 1990s and the likes of superstars like Beckham. In recent years, this revival has seen film entries usher in on the commercial success of football, from 1996's 'Fever Pitch' to 2002's Bend it like Beckham, but never has a film about the game itself been done the way it has been done here, in such centrality.

In fact, the very dearth of such films is an understatement and may well be the fuel for the GOAL! trilogy's impending success. Even football legend PELE alluded to the paucity of football films- or at least those of the simple concept explaining structures of wealth, class and the disparities of rich and poor in congruence with football. The plot by Butchart and Jeffries in this film stands out because of this - featuring the barrios of S.America; the institution of organized football religion in England, and a rag to riches drama, where Becker's character combines innocence and disappointments with success and 'aspiracion' in true underdog fantasy. The script is far from genius but it has depth- genuine troughs (poverty, death, rejection) and hurdles- competition, adaption and temptation (the clubbing scenes were almost a revealingly accurate précis given footballers' reputations in Europe). In fact, perhaps the only inaccurate part was about how Becker signed without a work permit and contract given he had to have been playing in at least 70% of all matches with his International side. Nonetheless, the film manages at the same time to convey the global scale of this billion dollar world obsession with the fantasy without compromising the sheer magnitude, and challenges of it all. Throw in all the other elements ranging from romance with Anna Friel's pragmatic nurse character to the gamut of football archetypes (Nivola as the playboy with conscience, Iures as the stoic gaffer, Dillane as the gentlemanly scout, the mercenary agents, an even a Souness-like hardman), on top of the fact that footage of actual matches in England has been seamlessly edited in, and you can see why the film accounts for a thorough representation of the sport. Perhaps even most exciting of all, the film shows behind the scenes footage of the teams and stars- training, grounds, gyms, dressing rooms, city streets, pubs, Toon Geordies.

How many people remember a football film that was done this way? More often than not football films have been towed by comedy or played side appendage to broader issues. From Thorold Dickinson's Arsenal Stadium Mystery (1939) about crime, to biopics like Yesterday's Hero (1979), or Gregory's Girl (1981) about gender, or even Eran Riklis's Cup Final (1991) about the PLO in war, most films have broader issues. The rest survive on humour, Mike Bassett (2001), being the typical example. GOAL! scores and sets the precedent for the genre from now on. In fact, there has been a rush of football films since, well accounted for at Cannes or the Berlinale festival, and probably well into World Cup 2006.

Films at Cannes included 'The Longest Penalty in the World' and "Romeo and Juliet Get Married" - a strained marriage between a Barcelona fan and a Real Madrid fan while Berlinale had 'Offside' an Iranian film. The market for soccer films has always been there, its just a case of whether filmmakers could break the deadlock with quality and authenticity, and GOAL! could well be the catalyst for the floodgates to open.

By Stephen Thanabalan
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6/10
I would say this film is 'Bend it Like Beckham' meets 'Gattaca'
Movieguy_blogs_com10 May 2006
In 'Goal' Kuno Becker plays Santiago Munez, an illegal alien living in Los Angels. Despite his hardships, Santiago loves to play soccer. So much so, that he is really quite good. Good enough to get the notice of a former scout of Newcastle United. Santiago gets the opportunity to go to England and try out for this premier football team. But if he does not make it, he will not be able to return to Los Angels.

This is a heartwarming tale of one man's struggle to become something more. Despite the obstacles and the disapproval of his father (Tony Plana), he goes for the goal. Only to find that it is not going to be that easy after all.

I would say this film is 'Bend it Like Beckham' meets 'Gattaca'. Not that Santiago needs to meet any DNA tests, but he is in a world that is virtually unknown to him. He has to keep secrets about himself in order to fit in because most expect him to fail. Some will even try to make him fail.
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7/10
"The Only Person Who Can Tell Me I'm Not Good Enough Is You And Even Then…I May Not Agree With You." --- Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker)
Robert_Hearth13 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Goal! The Dream Begins" (2005)

Directed By: Danny Cannon

Starring: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane, Tony Plana, Miriam Colon, & Alfredo Rodriguez

MPAA Rating: "PG" (for language, sexual situations, and some thematic material including partying)

I feel as though I have written this review before. Come to think of it, I feel as though I have seen this movie before. Oh wait! I have…a hundred times before. "Goal! The Dream Begins" fits so comfortably in the mold of its genre that one could almost imagine that it used the exact same outline as such films as "Stick It", "Take the Lead", "Akeelah and the Bee", "Bring It On: All or Nothing", and so many more. I can see the thought process that the filmmakers used when coming up with this idea. (Insert Name Here) is a true underdog who wants to excel at (inset sport and/or competition here), but (insert potential problem here) stands in his (or her) way. Can he (or she) overcome the obstacles and achieve (insert award name or honor here). Movies like these have been saturating the market lately…yes, even more so than PG-13 remakes of horror classics. It seems as if every week we see another one of these types of films and, I must say that it is getting redundant. It is easy to see why. The layout of these films has already been pre-set and all filmmakers must do is insert different characters and achievements for them to work towards. How many more movies can they make? I guess when they must resort to using winning a paddleball competition as the achievement, they might just hold off for a while. But, alas, until then, we will continue seeing these. The latest (or one of the latest) is "Goal! The Dream Begins". Everything you need to know about this film is in the title. "The Dream Begins" sums it all up rather nicely, if I do say so myself. As it does not say "The Dream Ends", we must assume that our main hero succeeds in doing whatever it is he desires to do and that this movie paves the way for a long and successful career for out said hero. Come on! You know you knew that already.

The hero of this movie is Santiago Munez (Becker), an illegal immigrant from Mexico who dreams of playing soccer (or football for our friends outside of the United States). But, his father, Hernan (Plana), has different plans. He wants Santiago to join the family business with him and help secure their family financially. But, when Santiago gets the chance to try out for Newcastle United, he jumps at the chance and, using money his grandmother (Colon) gives him, he secretly jets off to achieve his goal. However, he soon realizes that becoming a professional soccer player is not as easy as it looks and that his father may have been right. As things begin to turn into a roller-coaster of highs and lows, Santiago realizes that he must first believe in himself before anyone else will. Ah, this is such a lovely plot. It's simple and, though not brain surgery or anything, it serves its purpose--which is to entertain and to inspire. Yes, it is about as clichéd and predictable as they come, but it still kept me entertained. Do I sound as though I am contradicting myself? If so, then you have just understood my point. Movies like "Goal! The Dream Begins" are entertaining movies (for the most part) and I certainly enjoy watching them, but they are still clichéd and ripped off of nearly every other movie that came earlier.

The cast does an exceptional job. Kuno Becker gives a wonderful breakout performance and really holds his own, which surprised me. He is just a very solid actor. Alessandro Nivola, who starred in my favorite film of last year, "Junebug", really showcases his versatility as an actor here. Who knew he has such a profound talent? Anna Friel serves as the love interest for Becker's character and, though underused somewhat, she too does exactly what is asked of her. The remainder of the cast does admirably. As I have said, "Goal! The Dream Begins" is a paint-by-numbers drama that really brings nothing new to the table. In fact, you have seen all of this before. But, like "Take the Lead" did earlier this year, "Goal! The Dream Begins" manages to transcend its genre and, while remaining predictable, it is far better than it should be. Well-acted, stylishly-directed, and competently-written, "Goal! The Dream Begins" is a movie that is so much more entertaining than its clichéd concept suggests. Will you see every plot twist coming from a mile away? Yes. Will you know the ending even before the opening credits are over? You better believe it. But, will you be completely entertained and fulfilled at the end? Most definitely.

Final Thought: Predictable and clichéd, "Goal! The Dream Begins" brings nothing new to its genre…but it is still a very good movie with lots of fun to be had.

Overall Rating: 7/10 (B+)
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8/10
It's trivial, but how can a poor Mexican gardener have perfectly capped teeth?
imxo28 May 2006
GOAL is a very good soccer film, sort of a throwback to all the sports films of the 1940's-50's. There were some unexpected surprises, too. I never knew that Newcastle could look so good. I had only seen it depicted in the wonderful "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" TV series, and then parts of it were being dismantled by the Auf Wiedersehen crew - including Christopher Fairbanks, who has a smallish role in GOAL. Do I recommend GOAL for soccer fans? Most certainly; and for fans of British movies, too. There are one or two very minor things about the movie that leave me a bit puzzled, though.

How can Tony Plana, the actor playing the hero's Mexican gardener father and illegal border crosser, realistically play that role when he's got a mouth full of those artificially big, bright Hollywood teeth? I just couldn't get past it - an illegal gardener without a green card but who's got thousands of dollars in dental work blazing across the screen! No self-respecting actor should ever get involved with this absurd fad of capping, whitening, bleaching and brightening. It's fake, fake, fake. As good an actor as Plana is, I'd have disqualified him from the role for that reason alone.

My other comment is really a question. Who is playing the broadcast commentator in the film? The credits say it's someone named Rob Lee. However, the voice seems to ring a bell for me, yet I can't find anyone in football broadcasting named Rob Lee. Whoever it is, he's doing a fine job and sounds very authentic.

I really liked the film.
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10/10
Great Film!!
lozzashs27 September 2005
GOAL is a really great film with an exciting storyline. The different parts go really well together. It is a typical football fan's film and is great fun to watch. The characters are great and the acting is superb! I would recommend anyone who likes footie to go and see it, especially if you're a Newcastle United fan. It features Alan Shearer, Keiron Dyer, Lee Bowyer, Steven Gerrard and Patrick Kluivert. It is well worth a visit and is definitely worth 10/10!!! I took a friend who hates football but she decided she would go. She thoroughly enjoyed the film and would also recommend it. My overall opinion is: a great film that flows well and is very enjoyable!
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7/10
Enjoyable, well-made and worth it
fallyhag30 September 2005
Straight away the movie started well. It was well directed and all the camera work and cinematography was good.

The story was predictable but I wasn't expecting anything else. That said, they didn't go too overboard with how the film was going to end.

There were a few carefully placed lectures for the real footballers in the film, lets hope they understand the warnings.

I went with the missus and she loved the film. And she hates footie!!! The only bit I didn't quite get was the timeline. NUFC only had a few games left in the season but so much time seemed to pass by. I wasn't convinced.

But if you want a good film to watch then you wouldn't go too far wrong by having a look at this. It is far better than some of the rubbish this year.

recommended.
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8/10
Not bad - but perhaps I am biased !
j_f_burn30 September 2005
Been to the cinema tonight to see this latest entry in the football movie genre, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed overall - but then again, I am a Newcastle fan, from Newcastle ! 'Goal' tells the story of a young Mexican, Santiago Munez who is offered a trial with English side, Newcastle United when he is spotted playing local football in Los Angeles. The film charts his progress from his childhood, right through to his first team debut for Newcastle.

If you are after film with a complex, thought provoking plot, then you won't enjoy this - but if you enjoy football, and like 'boys own adventures', then this won't disappoint.
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10/10
What a film!
mcjello123230 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It was by chance that I happened to watch this movie. I was with a friend who played soccer, nothing else was really out, and I only knew about it from a random commercial. We were so glad we did! This movie was unbelievable! What I loved most about this movie was that it escaped from all the bad clichés that come with sports movies or underdog movies. So many times you think Santiago is going to screw up: you think he's going to steal from the rich white people he works for, you think he's going to back-stab Glen and sign a deal with the big-time Rep, you think he's going to cheat on Roz with Gavin's girl when she approaches him... but he doesn't! He never makes a moral mistake and it's so refreshing. He's down in the dumps a lot but by being a good man and a persistent and diligent believer in his dreams, he overcomes and it's just beautiful. If you haven't seen this movie, go see it. You won't regret it!
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7/10
Feel good but with limited appeal
montygomez10 October 2005
If you're a football fan who likes happy endings and are not too bothered about the plausibility of the plot, this could be the film for you. Young Mexican living as illegal immigrant in the USA is spotted by a former footballer and scout and gets trial with Newcastle United. After some trials and tribulations, he becomes a hero.

This film will probably be big on Tyneside but I would doubt its appeal in other parts of the country. Guest appearances by several famous footballers must have cost a bomb and added nothing to the story. I don't think I'm giving anything away if I say Beckham was wooden.

Surprisingly authentic North East accents from Chris Fairbank and Anna Friel and Anna Friel looks good too! I wouldn't bother to see it again but it was an enjoyable enough film.
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10/10
Best movie in long time
cdeborah_0117 May 2006
Congratulations!!! it is a great movie and you can learn a lot from it. Two hours with a lot of emotions and what happens in real life. The word FAMILY is so important in everybody life, sometimes parents does not show their loves to their kids and that creates frustration on them. What happened if his grandmother did not help Santiago? He still being an illegal in L.A. without a dream. But she made it possible. Santiago made it possible too, because he believes and has faith on himself, fighting for what he wants, but at the same time suffer a lot because he did not feel his father support, his asthma, but he makes his dream come true. If we talk about rolls: Kuno Becker one more time doing an amazing job. It did not surprise me because every roll he had, shows the potential he always had and how great actor he is. You do not need a famous actors to do a great movie. Everybody has a dream and this movie encourage everyone of us that everything in life can be possible if you have a GOAL!!!! Cynthia cdeborah_01@yahoo.com
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7/10
It scores just fine.
HiddenVoice9 March 2006
Goal may just be the first descent soccer movie and perhaps the best film about the insights of this phenomenal sport.This happens to be my favourite sport and watching so many movies ,I've never came across a film based on soccer that actually entertains or glorifies the sport.There have been exceptions,(BEND IT LIKE BECKAM).This is one film that understands the sport,the reason why it's so loved by the world and why it is the best sport ever.And for that reason this film excels and gives you a satisfying soccer movie.

The story begins as 10-year-old Santiago has passion for the sport early in his life.He then moves to the states from Mexico where he spends the rest of his life playing soccer for a local club and hoping one day he can play as a professional.It just so happens that a guy, who has been a scout and a once famous player,notices Santiago's skills and is deeply impressed.Out of desperation he gives Santiago a chance to play for Newcastle Utd. a top English club.Although Santiago cannot ask for anything more than a trial in a massive club,his father is against his dreams and wishes that his son can help him in his business.Nevertheless ,Santiago flees the States and lands into the Brits colony,where everything seems strange.So there he begins his journey and comes across various obstacles and many times he loses his chances to play for the club ,anyways in the end he......you know the rest.

This is quite familiar to everyone.Yes,this film is predictable in every way and you've probably seen movies like this ,but there are some good performances and impressive directing by Cannon which makes this worthwhile, and don't forget that this is a soccer movie and it has one of the best football sequences,with stark realism.Anyone who has ever watched a soccer game will find the football scenes realistic.They are very well executed.But if you watch the film REAL:The Movie,you'll see the scenes in that movie,which are extracted from real game and presented in a cinematic fashion,are more exhilarating and authentic.But still,since this a movie,it's still great.

The story is too old fashioned and brings nothing new to the sports genre.However there are a few good lines that work well.The performances are all fine and Becker really impresses.He really excels as a kid with a dream of becoming the best.He has the charm and the looks of a fit player and handles the dramatic scenes really well.This kid is about to become a star himself.Alessandro Nivola is also impressive,playing a lazy ,careless international star who spends more time at clubs than on the pitch.Stephen Dillane also gives a noticeable performance as a father figure.The rest of the cast is just fine.

The film often stumbles into the predictable and old fashion spot ,but there are some moments that are touching and there are some stylishly effective football scenes and the whole film entertains you.There is a good amount of energy in this film,at times it is fast paced and exciting and other times is too familiar.But it really is entertaining and understands the values of Football(SOCCER).

You won't find a better Soccer movie than this one and it's great to hear that two planned sequels are on the way.So enjoy this sport while you're at it.
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10/10
About time, a football (soccer) film not about hooliganism
robhigg22031 October 2005
After seeing one Football film after another been released that was about just hooligans. From the likes of Green Street and Football Factory (not seen them to be honest) it was nice to see a film about FOOTBALL.

The first thing that comes to mind is that it's like a Million Dollar Baby type rags to riches sports tale. That captures the excitement and emotion of watching a football match anywhere. And if you don't like football it's worth watching as an inspirational drama with great performances.

For football fans it would be great and inspiring if you want to be the next Beckham or Owen. I wouldn't get to excited about Beckham's appearance it was only one scene.

One thing that's wrong with this film is that some people may find it a little predictable in some of the match scenes. And it was a little boring in some areas, and has yet to cover allot of areas in the football world.

But these things don't let the film down to much and I would recommend it. I even cried at the end.

Loved it! 10/10
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7/10
Flawed but Fun
swbhoy28 May 2006
Sports movies, with very few exceptions are usually dire fare, and football movies in particular tend to be nonsensical montages weaved around clichéd sub plots. "Goal !" doesn't entirely eradicate these problems but its does make a substantially better fist of it that any that have gone before. It has to be said that one of the most significant reasons for this considerable improvement was the choice of the hugely experienced Lucinda Syson as casting director. Kuno Becker in the lead role was a revelation, not only did he have the acting chops to cruise through the non-football segments but he was entirely plausible as a player, with the build and movement of a decent professional. Anna Friel was perfect as the Geordie love interest and one of the most pleasing performances in the movie was Marcel Iures as Newcastle manager, Erik Dornhelm. Iures' research for the role was obviously extensive and he came over as a perfect amalgam of Mourinho, Wenger and Eriksson, with his authority and intelligence to the fore every time he was on screen. A special mention also has go to Alessandro Nivola who I didn't know or recognise prior to watching the movie and it was only while browsing through DVD special features that I saw to my surprise that he was in fact, American. He had absolutely mastered the London accent and was entirely convincing as the over-paid, over-sexed Cockney wide-boy. To the plot and the action then, both of which were mostly satisfactory and often appealing but quite some way short of perfect. While it was at least remotely conceivable that an amateur player from the barrio could be spotted and coaxed to the U.K., it was after Munez' arrival in Newcastle that the contrivances happened a little too regularly, the most blatant being his overwhelming luck at being in the taxi that was called off course to pick up a wayward star and the second chance that came with that startling co-incidence. The football action was as convincing, in my opinion, as any "staged" football will ever get, and this was helped by weaving footage of the actors into genuine game tape, a process which, it has to be said, was done almost seamlessly and is unlikely to be bettered. In summary then, Danny Cannon has made a pleasing movie, with a great cast, that at long last does some justice to the world's biggest game. It's not perfect, but its fast, it's fun and for the most part, fairly convincing.
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10/10
everlasting movie, ever!
wibiyana26 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
well, actually I'm not keen on any football stuff..., I do never see a single match of anything related with "ball" I hate sports... but then one night I saw this movie through my TV and I wowed by the story of it !!! the main character (Santiago) was totally built in this movie, kuno Becker has the role !!! I learned so many things from this movie. such as how you have to face the reality that sometimes will be so much far away than any bad dream you ever got, it feels so real showed by the scene of Santiago when he expelled from the reserve player team. and how he has to lost his money that he saved because of his father wanted to buy a truck and it made santiago cant go England. but then we cant just make our dream gone, blown by the wind...if we dare to dreaming about something big, so we have to do and make a big sacrifice too. also..sometimes do not listen to anyone make you down, even it was your own parents! that's what I got from this movie. well, and yeah..,we have to keep our team work as any kind of sports, we work as a team, the important one is the name printed in front of your shirt, not behind! the plot was really beautifully well done, you'll see an unforgettable story and a touching one. so worth for people who like football or people who afraid to make a big deal with their life, first so many footballer and so many scene make you wanna cry and promised to yourself that one day I have to make my dream comes true!! you would not soon forget this movie, its kinda memorable and thinkable movie guys... I really recommend this movie for ya!!! (now I'm looking for the other movie starred Kuno)
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10/10
I'm not going to lie, this movie rocked!
Meven_Stoffat28 August 2009
So yeah, a story simple as simple can get- a man dreams of being a soccer player, and is one day offered a chance by a major to go to England to join a major soccer team. No kidding that's basically the plot of the whole thing. So yeah, it's gonna be a bad soccer movie, right? That's basically my thoughts before watching this movie.

Boy, am I ever kicking myself to this day for thinking that.

This movie was a PROFOUNDLY amazing movie on every level. I wasn't expecting The Godfather, and normally I'm not a fan of sports movies. But watching this movie, I was so surprised at how much I liked it. It take a plot that would normally be considered simple and turns it into something complex and surprisingly really great. One would not expect a good movie at all watching it, but they would be surprised as hell at how well done it is.

Ever since his childhood days in Mexico, Santiago Munez has had one dream- playing soccer. One night, his family sneaks across the border into California, where he has two jobs- one as a chef in a Chinese restaurant and one as a gardener for his dad. In his time off in the hot California sun, he plays soccer with his mates. That's his passion. His dream is to be a major league soccer player for a soccer team. Putting aside his status as an illegal immigrant, he saves his earnings so he can try out for a major soccer team.

Then one day, a man from England sees him playing Soccer. He is impressed at how well Munez plays. After the game, he offers him the chance to go to England and try out for the team. His grandmother encourages him to ignore his non-believing father and just go, offering him the money.

While in the UK, Munez learns that it's not easy being a big-name soccer player. And he learns it the hard way- he has trouble playing in the rain, he has trouble with his severe asthma, and a death in the family causes some drama.

This film is of course clichéd and predictable- LA is depicted with an orange tint, England is depicted with a rainy, cold washed-out blue tint, the stereotypical characters all come into effect at one point, and the finale is predictable as ever. But the way the movie is done, it's done in a way that you wouldn't care about that- you'd just really be blown away by how amazingly well done it is. And I must say, if this movie doesn't make you wanna go to England, who knows what will.

Do not miss this movie, even if you don't like soccer. It is a great movie.
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8/10
The best Soccer Movie so far...
shootingstarpictures16 August 2009
In the mix of all sports movies, when a movie is made for soccer, the expectations of the audience, is a thousand fold. This is because most of the Soccer Movie goers are soccer (football) fans. Football fans are not so forgiving when it comes to the football scenes. This movie captures the scenes fantastically. It shows real football. The filmmaker knows football. The stars know football. The cameramen know football.

This is independent film-making at its best. It has the main plot which is the struggle of an athlete to achieve his dream. It has side plots which involve his relationships with his father, his new found girlfriend and his grandmother. His interactions with his brother and his teammates are great. But probably the most important event of his life has to do with the lucky break he gets when a former player turned scout sees him play. From there, the dream begins for the star of the movie and the audience as well.

This movie is highly recommended.
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10/10
Wonderful Movie
lindyla_00722 March 2008
I don't know much about soccer and had never heard of the movie. Our 9 year old grandson brought it when he came to visit and we enjoyed it immensely! The acting was very believable an the story was well done. We had a little trouble understanding the British accents, but no problem knowing what emotion was being portrayed. I'd recommend this movie to anyone who loves sports, soccer, a nice love story, or just wants a decent movie to watch with the kids. I liked the relationship Santiago had with his grandmother and brother and felt sad that he didn't reconcile with his father. But that just made us realize how important it is to maintain family relationships. This story had other themes that gave it depth, such as having dreams and realizing them, making your way in the world without handouts, importance of friendship, teamwork and keeping your feet on the ground despite fame.
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10/10
Not just a good movie, but the best soccer movie ever!
bradle212010 April 2007
There are plenty of excellent sports movies (Rudy, Hoosiers, Field of Dreams, The Lou Gehrig Story, Miracle, The Natural, etc.), but not so many soccer movies (Bend It Like Beckham,The Boys From Brazil, Shaolin Soccer, Kicking and Screaming). Of the soccer movie genre, few are memorable. However, Goal is not only a terrific soccer movie, it stands on its own as great drama. Forget about the cameo appearance by several world famous super-stars, what makes this movie compelling is a simple tale made very credible by outstanding performances of several little known actors. The direction is first class, and the music just adds to the movie's appeal. I could find nothing about this movie that was lacking. In sum it's a great movie that the entire family will enjoy...guaranteed, or your money back!
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