Like the inspiring heroes in MIRACLE, REMEMBER THE TITANS, and THE ROOKIE, the amazingly gifted Santiago Mu?ez, a young immigrant living in the barrios of Los Angeles, has an impossible dream -- to play soccer for a world class team. Unexpectedly getting a tryout with one of England's premier soccer clubs, Newcastle United, Santiago finds himself totally alone in a world where soccer is a religion and the players are gods. Now he not only has to prove he has the passion, talent, and determination to make it alongside the best in the world, but he has to overcome his own demons and those of others. Filled with memorable characters, great heart, and real-life soccer legends, GOAL! THE DREAM BEGINS is a triumphant story about believing in your dreams.
You'd have to be a heartless curmudgeon to dislike a movie as enjoyably sincere as Goal! The Dream Begins. Yes, the corny title tells you all you need to know about this rags-to-riches soccer tale, but like Hoosiers and Rudy, this conventional sports drama rises above its familiar plot with an engaging cast and some pleasant surprises along the way. The first in a proposed trilogy that will follow young Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) as he rises to prominence in the competitive world of British soccer, this one begins by showing how Santiago, an undocumented immigrant in Los Angeles, attracts the attention of a talent scout (Stephen Dillane), who arranges a tryout for England's prestigious team, Newcastle United. It's rough going for a beleaguered trainee who suffers from asthma, but soon Santiago is befriended by a hard-partying soccer star (Alessandro Nivola) and he's on his way to reaching hisâ€¦Goal! It's all very inevitable, but director Danny Cannon makes the most of this inspiring story by exploiting the unexpected subtleties in an otherwise predictable screenplay: Santigo's relationship with his seemingly unsupportive father (Tony Plana) gains additional resonance as the story unfolds; a local nurse (Anna Friel) turns out to be more than a routine love interest; and Newcastle's German manager (Marcel Iures) is a wry, colorful character who works miracles with his unruly squad of players. Add some obligatory cameo appearances by real-life soccer stars including (of course) the great David Beckham, and you've got a modest, likable hit that delivers exactly what it promises, and a little bit more.--Jeff Shannon
23 Pictures of Goal! - The Dream Begins (2006)
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