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United is based on the true story of Manchester United's legendary "Busby Babes", the youngest side ever to win the Football League and the 1958 Munich Air Crash that claimed eight of the their number. The film draws on first-hand interviews with the survivors and their families to tell the inspirational story of a team and community overcoming terrible tragedy. Written by
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It's not about their memory. It's about showing who we are to the world, showing we'll not be bowed by tragedy. Because how we are in the future will be founded on how we behave today.
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The movie starts with two men, apparently hurt, sitting in what may be airplane seats in the middle of nowhere in the snow. It takes a long time for us to realize what is going on, and at first it appears they may be dead.
Then we see men playing or practicing soccer. And then a bunch of jerseys hanging up in the locker room.
It is 1956. A group of people are watching the news in a movie theater. The great Manchester United soccer team is mentioned, and it is soon obvious that members of the team are there in the theater.
Bobby Charlton is a player on Manchester United, but he hasn't done a lot of playing. He complains to his coach Jimmy Murphy, who expects Bobby to work for his position. And he does. Murphy sees potential in him, but it will happen only after a lot of effort.
Meanwhile, Murphy's superior Busby is arguing with the league about what his team is capable of doing. In this movie, Busby doesn't appear to be a hands-on coach but someone who works on the business end; I have found out that wasn't true. Still, the league doesn't want Manchester United competing in Europe. Busby thinks they can and is determined to make it happen.
Manchester United is turning out to be one of the great teams in the league this season. Bobby is one reason.
And then comes that one game they maybe shouldn't have played. There is a deadline for them to return to England. It is snowing in Germany and they might not make it. Twice, the plane tries to take off, and twice, it can't. Then the third attempt is made ...
Manchester United is such a great team even I have heard of it.
This is a good movie, even if you don't find soccer interesting. It is a movie about a different time, and that in itself means something. The team is like family to the woman who feeds them where they live. But then there is the inspiring story about Bobby trying to become a starting player and ending up as one of the team's best.
There are lots of good acting performances, and David Tennant is one of the best as Coach Murphy. Dougray Scott is very good too, but he seems more mean and tough than kind and caring.
Jack O'Connell impresses too as Bobby.
Right before the tragic event, the music is very ominous. Everything about these scenes about halfway through points to some terrible event we already know is going to happen.
And afterward, there as a different but even more inspiring story. It is hard to watch but worthwhile. The news anchor is not kind and comforting but he confronts us with the reality. Will this team make it? Well, I did say Manchester United was so great I had actually heard of it.
Yes, it's really a winner.
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