Parents' Guide to

Next Goal Wins

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Underdog sports comedy-drama has language, some transphobia.

Movie PG-13 2023 103 minutes
Next Goal Wins movie poster: Close-ups of all the faces of the main characters positioned in a circle and looking directly at the camera.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 18+

Woke and uninspiring

Pretty woke and not an inspiring story. These movie producers miss their mark time and time again. I was hoping this would be another Cool Runnings, but it was made to follow an agenda. Turned it off early,
age 18+

Racist film makes Samoans look like idiots and delves into whole story about transgender transitioning.

What I thought would be a family-friendly, heartwarming story about a losing soccer team coming into its own, turned out to be a racist and thoroughly inappropriate movie for my family. The film portrays Samoans as infantile fools needing saving from a White soccer coach. Additionally, there is nothing in the movie trailer about the male soccer player transitioning from male to female which is a significant part of the film. Much of the discussion around this player is thoroughly inappropriate. Having watched the trailer before attending the film, I felt the trailer was completely deceptive, and did not portray what the film would actually be about.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (3 ):

Sports fans, and soccer fans in particular, may be familiar with the American Samoan's national team's humbling 31-0 defeat to Australia in 2001. Taika Waititi's Next Goal Wins takes the aftermath of this monstering and creates a feel-good, if unremarkable, film about the team's quest for redemption. Waititi directed, co-wrote, and even pops up as an American Samoan priest, and the movie is peppered with with sporadic surreal moments that have become something of the filmmaker's calling card. Top billing is given to Fassbender, whose Coach Rongen is a difficult character to warm to, at least initially. Quick to anger and with little patience for his team of underdogs, his transphobia toward third-gender character Jaiyah early on in the film grates and his redemption arc feels a little too sympathetic. However, the film avoids any "White Savior" narrative, with Waititi championing the team's own cultural identity as their key to success rather than any brilliant tactics by their "Palagi" or White coach. At a modest 103 minutes, the film never feels like a chore, but it's also unlikely to warrant any repeat viewing.

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