Imagine being a part of something that was almost impossible and insurmountable to achieve anything other than saving face. Being right at the bottom of the barrel and losing heavily every time you participated. It would be very soul destroying. But this is only football, its not life or death i hear you cry.
Maybe so, However if i have ever seen a movie about successfully overcoming adversity then this may just be the most spirited of them all..without overlapping into mawkishness or over egging a plight with true tragedy.
Rongen,the new coach who is licking his own emotional wounds, becomes the film’s motivational appointee, who embraces his team and their culture, just as the movie itself does. One of the film’s intriguing characters—and one of Coach Rongen’s, as well—is Jaiyah, a courageous player who can be amiably transgendered in a country that actually accepts and celebrates the lifestyle. Her feminine ways are practically counterintuitive to a movie of this ilk but are right at home in this one.
Directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s sports doc joins the American Samoa football team as they approach their qualification campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. To say they are underdogs is an understatement. Having never won a game(yes, thats right NEVER won a game in 2 decades) and once thumped 31-0 by Australia.
Next Goal Wins is very hard to be cynical with but very easy to name one of the better films to grace 2014 so far. It is a touch manipulative at times though the interpersonal stories all feel very weighty and have a humility and unpretentious approach to them. So its not really about the winning and losing, its not really about the taking part either. The film tries to elevate somewhere else..to a world where all that really matters is the experience of sharing.
It does not matter how close to perfection one may get, this is a winner for the loser in all of us.