Diego Maradona (2019)

Movie review by
Rich Phippen, Common Sense Media
Diego Maradona (2019) Movie Poster Image
Documentary about troubled soccer player has drug use.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 130 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some references to hard work leading to success.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite his sporting talent, Maradona is portrayed as a drug addict and womanizer. He denies that he is the father to his newborn son and frequently visits sex workers. Few people in Maradona's life were anything other than selfish. The Italian Mafia befriend and use Maradona.

Violence

An on-pitch fight is shown during a soccer match with kicks and punches thrown. A heavily damaged leg is depicted before and during surgery. Injections into a player's back are shown up close. 

Sex

References to extra-marital affairs and visits to sex workers. Some non-explicit changing room nudity. 

Language

Soccer chants include the (subtitled) words "f--k," "whores," "bastards," "damn," and "hell." Some chants reference racial epithets. 

Consumerism

Lots of soccer shirt sponsorship. Maradona spends increasing amounts of money on material goods as he becomes more successful. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of archive footage depicts drinking. Drugs are a key theme -- both consumption and dealing. Negative consequences to health and long-term sporting prospects are discussed and shown. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Diego Maradona is an excellent documentary about the soccer player's on and off-field controversies -- drinking, drugs, and extramarital affairs -- with some subtitles. Much of the movie revolves around how Maradona became a drug addict, with archive footage showing him at parties, interviews explaining his actions, and his involvement with members of the Italian Mafia. Footage also shows Maradona involved in violent altercations during games. There are non-explicit shots of players naked in changing rooms. Injuries are shown up close, with some blood. Surgery on Maradona's ankle is shown. Much of the dialogue is taken from interviews with those involved. Archive footage does include various offensive, and even racist, terrace chants -- including terms such as "bastards," "whores," and "f--k." There are few if any positive messages or role models, as viewers witness firsthand the decline of a supremely gifted sportsman.

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What's the story?

DIEGO MARADONA is a documentary about one of the greatest soccer players in the history of the sport and his subsequent fall from grace. Focusing on his time in Italy playing for Napoli, archive footage shows the Argentine World Cup winner at his on-field best, before his descent into drugs eventually loses the love of the Napoli supporters.

Is it any good?

This is an excellent documentary about one of soccer's greatest-ever, but also controversial, players. While Maradona's story is long and ongoing, a conscious decision has been made to concentrate on Maradona's years playing in Italy. The approach affords director Asif Kapadia -- Amy and Senna -- the opportunity to look closely at the 1980s, the decade in which Maradona became arguably the greatest footballer of all time. An atmospheric soundtrack and brilliant editing of the copious amounts of archive footage weave a compelling story that gets to he heart of why Maradona's career -- and indeed his life -- went off the rails.

With drugs, prostitution, and the Italian Mafia all featuring heavily, Diego Maradona is more than your average sports documentary. There is so much archive footage that all the interviews are treated as voice-overs, rather than talking heads, which is an impressive feat for a documentary based on events from over 30 years ago. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the drug use in Diego Maradona. How and why could someone as talented as Maradona end up addicted to drugs? Do you have some sympathy with Maradona's plight? What was the role of those around him in enabling his decline?

  • Are Maradona's achievements tainted by his behavior? What other flawed heroes can you think of? Does this impact how we should support or remember them?

  • How is sex depicted in the documentary? What was Maradona's attitude to women like? Is there anything loving or consensual about any of them? Parents, talk about your own values regarding sex and relationships. 

Movie details

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For kids who love sports

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