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Sixty Six
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35 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant family film

10/10
Author: skippon from United Kingdom
30 September 2006

How nice to watch a film suitable for children that is funny, compassionate and resonates with their problems. No animation, no talking animals, but a boy and his family, He gets picked on, ignored, and teach himself to grow up. My ten year old grandson rates this as one of his favourite films ever.

It is also very appealing on an adult level. Witty, perceptive and devoid of sentimentality,it is plain good fun.

The acting and writing are flawless and the recreation of 1966 is breath-taking. I am in awe of the production designer and the colourisers. It all works smoothly, although it did leave me wondering 'How did they do that?'.

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23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Slow start, exciting finish. Thoughtful and nice 'slice of life' family portrait

8/10
Author: bopdog from Great Pacific Northwest
4 November 2006

I like all kinds of movies, and this quiet, thoughtful, 'homemade' kind of Brit-flick was enjoyable. There's not much of a plot--- a kid's approaching bar mitzvahs happens to fall on the same day as the 1966 soccer World Cup Final match. That scheduling conflict means no one will attend his event, and he has been taught and primed to expect the bar mitzvahs to be the most significant and important day in his life. So he is freaking out a bit--- but the soccer game is an issue only if Englands winds enough qualification games to enter the finals, and no one expects them to. Done. That's the plot. Obviously, the Big Day arrives; I leave it to you to discover how England fares, and how the kid's family life unfolds.

An important sub-plot is the kid's family. the dad is a retiring and overly-shy shlub, contrasted with his dynamic and 'life of the party', go-getter brother, the kid's uncle. The kid's older brother is a vicious bully, and his mom (Helena Bonham Carter) is the only loving, reasonable voice of strength in the family. Oh--- the kid's blind rabbi and bar mitzvahs coach, and Stephen Rae as the kid's physician also play a guiding roles for the boy.

Anyway--- things kind of creep along for the first half. It became a bit tedious, and I contemplated leaving. However, the second half was much perkier than the first, and the ending was genuinely exciting and thrilling. So, overall, while the pace was bit uneven, the end result was a pretty satisfying movie. In retrospect, I kind of wished the front end could have been a bit racier, or less 'portraiting' of the depressing family, or something. On balance, I liked it.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

this film was heart warming

7/10
Author: lorraynesmith from United Kingdom
23 November 2006

I thought that, though this film was admittedly little slow to take off, it picked up momentum and was captivating throughout the later stages. the story was indeed heartwarming ands quirky. It required a little patience but that paid off and I found the performances convincing and true to life. it did make me shed a tear at the end and the climax is rewarding, even though we know the outcome. I would say that it's well worth a viewing. The lead character is well played and the father figure is a sad yet endearing character. The build up to the finale is quite long but draws you in and I thought the screenplay was a little reminiscent of Mike Leigh's style. Go and see it -- you won't be disappointed overall!

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A flawless gem

10/10
Author: eucalyptus9 from Australia
20 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's been some good British movies produced of late. A while back I watched "This Is England" which was pretty good, although not one of Shane Meadows' best, in my opinion. But I note that it rates as 8.0 on IMDb, while this beautiful, magnificent, flawless gem of a movie only rates as 6.7.

Bernie is an overlooked, slightly neglected little Jewish kid who wants his bar mitzvah to outshine his older brother's. He wants it be in a swankier place, more guests, better presents. Mostly, what he wants is be recognized as someone important. But everything conspires against him - a series of disasters that befall his father, and the fateful scheduling of his bar mitzvah on the same day as the 1966 World Cup final, at which no-one really believes the English team will be present. But you never know. And if they do make it, nobody will want to attend Bernie's transition into a man. Bernie certainly does his best to prevent them from making it, from prayers, and curses and spells, to throwing darts at a picture of the team.

I laughed out loud several times during this movie (a rare occurrence these days, particularly when watching comedies). At other times, I was moved to tears. There's a scene towards the end in which Bernie's parents find the video taken of the older brother's bar mitzvah, which Bernie has plainly been watching. They turn it on, and there is the day, a joyful scene, no expense spared, lots of people, lots of gifts. What's also clear from the scenes that unfold is how Bernie is constantly overlooked, pushed aside, ignored. The director, having established the gist of the video, moves in for a long lingering look at Helena Bonham Carter's face (Bernie's mother). She's been the family's rock, the pillar of strength and loyalty. But in a masterpiece of acting (reminiscent of Nicole Kidman in the opera scene of "Birth", or Catalina Sandino Moreno walking through the airport in "Maria, Full Of Grace"), Bonham Carter's eyes reflect the dawning realization of how much she and her husband have neglected this little boy. The emotional forces raging within her are all reflected in minor changes of facial expression. This is a truly great actress.

The film itself is full of little profundities. The ending must strike at the heart of every father who's ever reflected on the mistakes he's made with his kids, or the times he's not been there for them.

A terrific film, one of the best I've seen in a long time. I can't find any fault with it, so it gets 10/10.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable coming of age tale backed by a trifecta of great acting

8/10
Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
27 August 2008

The coming of age tale is always one of the most enjoyable and heartfelt types of film, with Sixty Six proving that it is worth the viewer's time because of the wonderful character driven film that it is. It should be noted that because of the film's plot, you should immediately know that it won't be story driven outside of the characters' individual stories. To make it simple, if you know how the 1966 World Cup turned out, you know how this film is going to end. So, it is for that reason that I say, if you don't know how that World Cup ended, don't look it up. The film will tell you, and to be honest, it was one of the things that made it such a great movie for me. Knowing the outcome of the matches, however, doesn't take away from the experience.

In a character driven film, the performances are obviously the most important, and here we have a trifecta of awesomeness. First and foremost, in one of my favorite performances of the decade, Eddie Marsan really shows some muscle and range as Bernie's father, in one of the most silently moving performances of recent memory. The character by himself is a hell of a subject to study, a neurotic and paranoid man who has lost faith in his own life because of the lack of success in his family business, and feeling distant from his wife. Marsan pulls this off wonderfully. You can't help but feel bad for him, despite numerous bad choices in the film.

Helena Bonham Carter is, as usual, excellent as Bernie's mother. I really appreciated her towards the end of the film, when all of our characters have an epiphany. Youngster Gregg Sulkin is wonderful in his first role, and he should have plenty of work in the future. What you get from this film is a tad bit of predictability, yet where that hurts the film, the characters make up for it. Even supporting characters, such as one played by Stephen Rea, are as intriguing as the big three.

If you enjoy teary moments, boys becoming men in their life, and a bit of British humor, Sixty Six is bound to be enjoyable for you. I was very glad I caught it in the brief run it had in my theater, because it's definitely one of the better movies that has come out recently, in addition to providing a nice break from all the summer explosions. As for Brits looking for this film to see, odds are that it's already on DVD in your neck of the woods, as it was released in the UK about two years ago.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Is this a remake of Das Mirakel von Bern?

7/10
Author: pmidha from London
5 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film last night and really enjoyed it but was struck by the mixture of hilarious comedy and deep pathos. Sometimes it is too painfully sad to be funny- maybe that's how comedy works! The last twenty minutes set me thinking how derivative the film is. Has anyone noticed a similarity between Das Mirakel von Bern and this film ? Both are about the troubled relationship between father and son; both centre on a world cup final; both feature a desperate race at the end to get to the final and both sets of parent/child jump over the ticket barrier to get to the game! I enjoyed both films in spite of their similarities; I think the writers could have injected even more humour into 66, even if there are some genuinely side-splitting moments

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Loved this movie - laughed, laughed, laughed, and cried

10/10
Author: kimmerie-1 from United States
4 September 2008

If you picture Helena Bonham Carter as a Jewish mother from the 1960's, beehive and all, that should be enough to make run to see Sixty Six.

Sixty six is the year. Bernie Reubens is the kid. The 13 year old kid to be exact. Bernie's the awkward, picked-on kid, the one living in the shadow of his popular older brother. The kid whose only luck is bad.

Lo and behold in his religious (Hebrew) classes, he learns that his impending Bar Mitzvah is the event that will change all that. For one day Bernie Reubens would be the center of the universe.

The quirky boy makes his Bar Mitzvah his obsession. In the backyard garage, he has a table set up, more like a shrine devoted to things Bar Mitzvah. Catering menus, a place setting, pictures, seating charts, everything to make this day his perfect one.

There's one glitch.

The World Cup falls on the same day. And, England could qualify for the finals. No one would come to Bernie's Bar Mitzvah if this happened.

Bernie makes it his singleminded mission to prevent England from competing in the finals. How he tries to do this is plain hysterical. Let's just say that there's some hocus pocus involved and tons of laughs.

There's another glitch. Bernie's dad's career takes a bad financial turn. Don't get me started about the father character. Played by actor Eddie Marsan, the odd elder Reubens is a cartoon-like character with amazing comedic timing. In a Mr. Magoo kind of way.

If I said what happens to Bernie is comedy of errors, I would be understating it. From bad to worse, and bad again, Bernie's day isn't looking like his dream Bar Mitzvah. But some bittersweet things happen between he and his dad. Enough to tug your heart. And, tug again.

Almost never have I been to a movie that made me laugh during the introduction and then tear up at the end. Even the credits are worth watching since the actors' names are superimposed over film footage of an actual '60's Bar Mitzvah, which happens, I'm assuming, to be that of the director's older brother. His was Bernie's dream day.

I only collect the odd movie DVD from the movies that I adore. As soon as this becomes available, it's mine. I'll have a Sixty Six party. Prerequisite, you must be born before that year.

Supposedly, Sixty Six is based on the director, Paul Weilland's life. I know some Brits who remember the World Cup of 1966 with special affection. And, I personally remember a variety of awkward boys confronting their manhood at many a Bar Mitzvah. (where I smoked my fist cigarette in the synagogue bathroom.) Then there's the dad stuff...more tugs. Go see it!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

So true ... so true

9/10
Author: myschrec from Moscow, Idaho
6 July 2009

OK, perhaps my perception is biased by the fact that my Bar Mitzvah was in 1962, albeit Chicago. But this movie rang true on every count: the family business, the distracted (worried) father, the overprotective mother, the domineering brother (just like mine), and the exaggerated importance that (we) twelve year old boys desired of our "coming out party." The movie made me laugh out loud, and even audibly groan at the pathetic human foibles. Bernie's family was (almost, but not quite) as crazy as my own. But the central theme of the film was neither the craziness of family nor the anticipation of disaster. It was how Bernie and his family got through it all and learned core and timeless values. I do not want to spoil it, so I will just say that the ending was incredibly fulfilling. Every Rabbi should see this film. Every parent should see it with their twelve year old -- boy or girl, Jew or Gentile.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Is Paul Weiland The Most Underrated Director In England?

10/10
Author: Sebastian Farrell from Warrington, England
22 November 2006

Personally, I think so. For those of you unaware of his work he is responsible for directing almost all of the Mr Bean programmes which have entertained generations of multi lingual people, he also directed my favourite film, Bernard and the Genie. For those of you unaware of this film please search for it now and look at some of the comments about it has received, its quite simply the best Christmas film ever recorded. He delivers simple but massively effective narratives which appeal to all ages, easy to watch films which last long in the memory of all those who watch them. I fear Sixty Six will not be well received due to poor marketing (who exactly did it appeal too? I only watched it on the strengh of its director) but having just watched it I can assure anyone thinking about giving it a go to just WATCH IT! Its hilariously funny and deeply moving and the story flows like a butterfly. I was utterly dismayed I was sharing the experience of Sixty Six with 4 other people knowing full well it would be enjoyed by thousands if not millions more. Paul Weiland please stand up and take your place as one of Englands finest directors/writers and for the love of all things sacred make more films and continue the 'Bernie' trend :)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It's got everything except the right number of laughs

7/10
Author: colinmetcalfe from United Kingdom
13 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Another almost there movie. It is let down by the fact that it is meant to be a comedy, but it is just not funny enough. Everything else is bang on except perhaps some of the characterisations, the only one I really warmed to was the blind rabbi and his dog (which produces most of the laughs!)

I'm not from this world and it seems to really enjoy this film, it has to strike a chord. Well there was no resonance for me, I had to be made to laugh just using what was on the screen.

Regarding the laugh count I think the makers realised this was low too as demonstrated by the: 'what's that drink? It's a bloody Mary. Alright I was only asking' gag. Smacks of desperation I'm afraid.

Even so the nice warm ending was worth waiting for.

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