A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that film includes some loud and body-slamming soccer action, usually leading to someone's face bruised or a limb brutally banged. Characters lie to one another (including family members) in order to achieve ambitions. British teammates make fun of Santiago at first. A decadent star soccer player appears drunk and hung over repeatedly; he also appears with multiple sex partners (sex takes place off-screen, following brief kiss or embrace). Characters smoke cigarettes and drink, a couple of characters appear to have been snorting cocaine during a party scene, as they sniff and rub their noses.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A dedicated soccer (or football, as it's called in Europe) player from the time he was a child, Santiago leaves Mexico with his father Hernan (Tony Plana) in search of a new life in Los Angeles. As a young man, Santiago (now played by Kuno Becker) works for his father's gardening company, but hangs onto his dream of being a soccer champion. When he's spotted by a former scout for Newcastle United, Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane), he makes his way to England in order to try out for the team. In England, Santiago faces a number of trials and obstacles in pursuit of his dream.
Is it any good?
A generically inspirational sports movie, GOAL! THE DREAM BEGINS focuses on the worldwide popularity of soccer. While the movie is full of clichés and runs too long, it does raise some timely issues, almost in spite of itself. For one thing, it reveals the difficulties of Santiago's life in a Los Angeles barrio, with his father, younger brother, and grandmother Rose (Miriam Colon): They have no chance at social mobility, despite years of hard work and following the rules, as they are technically "illegal." By the same token, once Santiago proves himself as a player, his new employers are eager to exploit his potential, as a winner and money-maker. Santiago's dream, in other words, hinges on making someone else wealthy. That said, he looks very happy when he score a big goal on television.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the conflict between Santiago and his father, as they clash over how best to support the family. How does the film resolve this relationship, even though they don't see one another again after Santiago leaves L.A.? How does the grandmother help to bring them together? Why do so many sports movies tend to focus on the same themes?
- In theaters: May 12, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: September 12, 2006
- Cast: Kate Tomlinson, Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane
- Director: Danny Cannon
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual situations, and some thematic material including partying.
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