The Footballest

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
The Footballest Movie Poster Image
Spanish soccer fun shows importance of teamwork and courage.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 103 minutes

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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

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

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

There are strong message of teamwork, courage, and perseverance. Much of the story revolves around overcoming the odds, facing ones fears, and friendship.

Positive Role Models

All the members of the Soto Alto soccer team show great togetherness and strength of character, although they are willing to break the rules, albeit for a good cause. Their teamwork isn't just kept to the pitch either, as they work together to solve the mystery of the sleeping referees. Pakete shows courage both on and off the pitch. Helena is a strong female role model, leading the team and bringing them together. The team itself is diverse in terms of gender, family backgrounds, and body shape. However, there are some cheap jokes about a larger team member continually eating and another about a character who wears glasses being "blind." There is also some gender stereotyping with a male character being told to "stop crying like a baby," and a female character referring to "how girls should behave." A character is referred to as a "mysterious Romanian," and another as being dressed like an "Indian" when a photo is shown of them wearing a Native American headdress.

Violence & Scariness

Some slapstick violence as characters are barged over, thrown to the floor, or have a soccer ball hit them in the face causing their glasses to fall off. Most of this takes place on the soccer pitch. Character falls from a tree and is shown with multiple grazes on their face. Some light hitting between siblings and friends. A drone hits someone in the face. Characters hallucinate about their childhood fears, such as being eaten by a giant stuffed bear or having a dentist put a filling in their mouth without anesthetic. Parent is tied-up for their own good. Characters smash through windows. Door is blown open causing an explosion. Parents of an opposing football team shout "jokey" violent abuse, including "slit their throats" and "use machetes." Reference to a dead grandparent. A character pretends their parent was eaten by a shark.

Sexy Stuff

Characters -- including tweens -- kiss. Discussion between tweens about good looks and being attracted to each other. Tween continually refers to another as "babe." Reference to "kissing with tongues." Characters discuss being -- or wanting to be -- in relationships.

Language

Language includes "suckers," "corkhead," and "loser." "Hell" and "God" are also used as exclamations. An ongoing joke involves a character about to say "s--t" and "bastards," but has a hand placed over their mouth before they can finish saying the word. Character pretends that they have a condition that causes them to "pee themselves."

Consumerism

Passing reference is made to YouTube and Pokemon.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters have their drinks spiked with a concoction of drugs, including sleeping pills, which causes them to hallucinate and pass out. Reference to smoking and doping.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Footballest is a Spanish comedy (original title Los futbolísimos) with English subtitles, about a kids soccer team and contains positive messages and slapstick action. The movie is based on a popular series of Spanish books and shows the importance of teamwork, friendship, and togetherness, both on and off the pitch. Pakete (Julio Bohigas-Couto) must face his fear of taking a penalty, while also building up the courage to tell his teammate, Helena (Milene Mayer) how he really feels about her. Helena is a strong female role model, who not only leads the team, but is also one of their best players. The rest of the team are made of people with different body shapes and from different family backgrounds. However, there are some cliched "jokes" about one larger teammate always eating and another with glasses being "blind." There are also some fleeting references to gender stereotypes. The violence is very slapstick with characters knocked and thrown to the ground. However, some younger viewers may be slightly scared when the referees experience hallucinations -- a result of having their drinks spiked. There is also some overly aggressive threats made by the parents of an opposition team, although the mood is very much comedic. There is much discussion about romance both between tweens and between adults with some kissing.

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What's the story?

THE FOOTBALLEST (original title LOS FUTBOLISIMOS) finds the Soto Alto soccer team in serious danger of being relegated and subsequently turned into a choir. When referees start inexplicably falling asleep during their games, the team -- led by Pakete (Julio Bohigas-Couto) and Helena (Milene Mayer) -- decide to investigate in the hope they can turn their fortunes around.

Is it any good?

Based on a Spanish book series, The Footballest is an unpolished, yet well-intentioned family sports adventure. Central to the plot are Pakete (Bohigas-Couto) and Helena (Mayer), but all the members of the Soto Alto soccer team -- a diverse range of boys and girls of all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds -- bring a certain charm to proceedings. In a nice reversal of traditional gender roles, Pakete is the insecure boy to the confident and leader-like Helena, and their will they/won't they romance serves as a sweet side plot.

The movie has plenty of good will, which is why when the film makes a misstep, it stands out like a sore thumb. The character of Radu (Samuel Miró), described as the "mysterious Romanian," or the lazy "jokes" about one of the larger team members always eating, undoes so much of the movie's best intentions. There's a satisfying conclusion, which ties things up nicely, and there's even a couple of jokes thrown in for older audience members. The result is a winning result, if not a thoroughly convincing one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the positive messages in The Footballest. What does the team, and Pakete in particular, learn? When have you had to demonstrate teamwork and courage in real life?

  • How is Helena a strong female role model? What other strong female characters can you think of from any movies you have seen? Why media role models matter.

  • In what ways is the Soto Alto soccer team diverse? Why is that important?

  • How did you find the subtitles? Did they put you off? Would you be interested in watching more foreign films?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sport

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