The Keeper

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
The Keeper Movie Poster Image
Moving sports biopic has some violence, strong language.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 120 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Messages include forgiveness, sacrifice, overcoming prejudices, compassion, empathy, standing up for what you believe in, and courage. Characters must learn to forgive themselves and others. Grief is also a strong theme -- how you should consider other people's feelings when dealing with your own.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bert is courageous and eventually learns to forgive himself. He manages to win people over through his performances on the soccer field. Margaret also shows great courage, forgiveness, and sacrifice and is perhaps the movie's most sympathetic character. Various characters are hostile toward Bert for his role in WWII -- this is often expressed with xenophobic slurs and occasional violence. There's some stereotyping of men liking soccer and women liking dancing, but these are challenged by Bert.


Brief war scenes show soldiers being shot and killed by explosions -- a deer's severed head is also seen. A bomb explodes near a dance hall, causing panic. Black and white footage of concentration camps, including dead bodies. A character is seen hanging in a shower. In a flashback to the war, a child is shot dead and is shown face down in a pool of blood. Occasional fighting with some punching. Spoiler alert: A character breaks his neck after an accidental collision in a soccer game but somehow manages to play on. And a child is killed after being knocked over by a car.


Flirting and kissing. Non-graphic discussions about sex. Presumed sex between two characters who later get married. A character is seen under a sheet, presumably naked. Brief nudity in a shower scene -- other players are also shown bare chested or in their underwear.


Language includes multiple uses of "bastard," "bloody hell," "s--t," "f--king," "piss," "jack off," "arse," "bugger," "shite," "crapping," "tosser," "t-ts," "knob," and "bitch." "Christ" is also used as an exclamation. Various xenophobic slurs are used, including "kraut." Two fart jokes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink -- beer and whiskey -- at home, the pub, and in locker rooms. A champagne bottle is opened in celebration. One character gets visibly drunk, and characters discuss being hungover. Characters smoke throughout, and cigarettes are used as a commodity in the prisoner of war camp. A character uses a box of cigars to gain favor in a business transaction.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Keeper is a compelling, sometimes violent drama based on the true story of prisoner of war-turned-soccer player Bert Trautmann (David Kross). Scenes from World War II show soldiers being shot or killed by bombs. In one of the more distressing sequences, a young boy is shot in the back and dies in a pool of his own blood. Prisoners of war are shown black-and-white video footage of concentration camps, where a pile of bodies is unloaded from a truck. Spoiler alert: Bert and Margaret's (Freya Mavor) infant son is killed after being hit by a car. There's strong language throughout, including variants of "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." Many of the characters show hostility toward Bert, who's German, for his role in WWII -- this hostility is expressed with xenophobic slurs like "kraut" and occasional violence. But at the heart of the movie are themes of forgiveness, courage, and overcoming prejudice. Characters are often shown drinking, although there's only one depiction of drunkenness. Accurately for the era, many of the characters smoke. There's brief nudity in a shower scene.

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What's the story?

THE KEEPER tells the true story of Bert Trautmann (David Kross), a German prisoner of war who later became a goalkeeper for the English soccer club Manchester City. In the aftermath of World War II, Bert must overcome hostility as well as learn to forgive himself. Bert's life begins to take a turn for the better: He marries Margaret (Freya Mavor) and wins over fans with his talent. But then tragedy strikes, both on and off the pitch.

Is it any good?

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction; for proof, look no further than the story at the heart of this superb sporting biopic. From German POW to one of the greatest goalkeepers to play soccer in England, Bert's life is filled with unlikely and unbelievable events. The fact that many of them are tragic only adds to the drama. Soccer fans may be aware of certain aspects of Bert's life -- the events of the 1956 FA Cup Final are legendary -- but this is a comprehensive look at an extraordinary life.

German actor Kross is excellent as the determined Bert, who's wrestling with his own past. But it's Mavor's Margaret who captures viewers' sympathy and admiration in a time when women were very much kept in the shadows. The movie doesn't gloss over the events of WWII, nor does it exempt Bert from his role. But its gaze is looking forward, not back, with the overall message being one of forgiveness. It's also worth noting that the soccer sequences are impressively realistic -- not something that can be said for all sports movies. But whether you're a sports fan or not, The Keeper is an inspirational tale that needs to be seen to be believed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Bert is treated in The Keeper. Can you understand why some people are hostile toward him? Do you think that excuses their behavior? How does Bert win them over?

  • Did the fact the movie was based on a true story impact how you felt? Did it make the movie's more tragic scenes more difficult to watch?

  • What does the movie teach us about overcoming prejudice? How might forgiveness, compassion, and empathy help us achieve this?

  • What character strengths does Margaret show? Do you think the time period makes her behavior even more courageous?

Movie details

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