In the build up to the 1958 World Cup we see Pele’s meteoric rise from the slums of Sao Paulo leading to the playing for Brazil’s national team and taking part in his first tournament at the tender age of 17.
I found this film to be totally engaging and interesting from the very first moment as we see how Pele grew into the legend that we are all well aware of to this day. Brazil did not have a good time at the previous World Cup’s and in 1958 it was held in Sweden, due to injuries Pele ended up playing and was targeted because of his size. It was a rather emotional journey as he battled an injury which in all honesty could have ended his career before it even began.
I love a sports film that can capture the passion for the sport in this case football (soccer for you American readers). It manages to demonstrate the hard work and determination that must be put in order to represent your country at a World Cup. The difference in time and how people reacted to others that were visually different is also something the film addresses showing how times have changed with the reactions the different countries had to one another.
Obviously this is the perfect time to watch a film about the World Cup as the current competition is happening, which is how I came across this film thanks to Sky Cinema having a sport section in On Demand. So if you are in the UK and love a good sport film then I think you should go and watch this right now!
I felt Kevin de Paula was perfect as Pele and very engaging putting in such a powerful performance. Managing to capture the many emotions both on and off the field. On the field trying to fit in with the team and do as his manager has asked. Off the field trying to keep in touch with his parents and coping with the psychological side of playing.
It also helps to show that while a legend was born he would have been nothing without his teammates, I liked that aspect of how he was helped along the way by those and the coaching and medical teams. Although how much of it is totally true to what happened in 1958 I guess would have to be looked into. I didn’t want to spoil this review by double and triple checking the facts as wanted to look at it as the film we are presented with.
Overall a very nice and engaging film that is certainly feel good when it comes to the sport genre, especially considering football films that are actually good quality are rather difficult to find. This one is one of the better ones that I have seen.