Director: James Erskine
Released: 12th June 2015 (UK)
Personally, I am not the biggest football fan, but that tends to happen when it comes to women. However, Shooting for Socrates isn’t just a football movie, but a film that tries to teach us about hope and the joy a passion can bring into our lives. It’s like a reminder of the happiness certain usual things can bring.
The main plot is quite a simple one and it revolves around the 1986 Football World Cup taking place in Brazil. Around this main story we have the lives of a few characters that are directly involved the in football tournament or simple spectators. In short, in a Northern Ireland divided on religious lines, nine-year-old boy learns to make sense of his world through his passion for football and his father’s love of Greek philosophy. In the meantime, the country’s football team, are pitted against a modern day Goliath – the Brazilian football team, led by the remarkable Socrates de Souza.
When it comes to the characters we have a few big involved such as John Hannah (“The Mummy”) who plays the team’s coach, a very practical man that refuses to give up until he has tried everything he can think of, and Conleth Hill (“Game of Thrones”) as the reporter that follows the Northern Ireland football team everywhere and keeps the people back home well informed. His role in connection to the team is quite a funny and direct one.
The most moving character however is Tommy, portrayed by Art Parkinson, a kid deeply in love with football and the one with probably the highest expectations when it comes to the team. Through him we get to experience the exact emotions most of the grown-ups go through as the film progresses. Sometimes it is joy, other times sorrow, but as a child, Tommy doesn’t feel any restraint when it comes to fully expressing it.
Of course the actors that form the football team shouldn’t be left aside as they are presented both as individuals and as a group. Some of them, like the team captain, are at the top of their careers, having behind years of experience, others are only beginning. No matter of their status, they all have their own struggles and they help us understand the impact of being involved in such a tournament can have on a person’s life.
The comedy is about believing in your dreams and following them, no matter what you background is. It’s about losing your heart to the game. It’s an inspiring family story that maybe should have been told some time ago.