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  • Hamish Hart

The Beautiful Game (2024) Review

RATING: 6/10

One of the biggest reasons behind soccer being referred to as 'The Beautiful Game' is due to the founding of The Homeless World Cup; an annual football tournament which advocates for the end of homelessness across the globe. Director Thea Sharrock's attempt to honour this 25-year-old tradition, while admirable, fails to push any significant boundaries, resulting in yet another safe, by-the-numbers addition to Netflix's ever-growing catalogue of them.



After falling victim to homelessness, talented football player Vinny (Michael Ward) is convinced by coach Mal (Bill Nighy) to travel with his team to Rome to compete in the inaugural Homeless World Cup. But in order to stand any chance of winning, Vinny and the rest of his team must extinguish any doubts they have about their struggling lives and come together to win.


The Beautiful Game tries to make the most out of its promising promise, and although it does contain plenty of heart, the film never pushes itself to that next level, remaining in first gear for its entire 2-hour runtime. Bill Nighy does his best to inject humour and heart into the film's more poignant moments, but not even the Science Guy can come up with a way to smooth out the movie's sluggish pacing problem. But while the film may sound like a real slog to get through, the pace is only a real issue in the first few acts. Upon reaching the halfway mark, The Beautiful Game kicks it up a gear by diving into the meat of its story: the World Cup.


Once the team arrives in Rome, The Beautiful Game suddenly has some stakes attached to it. The message behind this true story is supposed to be one of self-fulfilment; about finding a purpose greater than yourself. However, the film gives off the illusion that winning is all that matters. The message doesn't reflect the charity's purpose, causing a minor disconnect in the plot. But thankfully, this issue is hastily resolved in the third act, fixing any major issues the plot may have had by turning it into a safe and sound story that can be enjoyed by all; something neither good, nor bad.


The Beautiful Game is as safe as safe can be. Bill Nighy and Michael Ward's joyous performances insert some much-needed heart into a movie that could have gone terribly south without it. Despite possessing some wonderful moments of happiness, the film suffers from an unnecessarily stretched-out plot that feels more like a director's cut than a standard one. What could have been a delightful story about a wonderful charity turns out to be a perfectly-fine movie that is the epitome of "fine".

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About Me

Hamish newsheadshot_edited.jpg

Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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