A young, gifted football player who gets into trouble for a petty crime is brought to the attention of former Manchester United coach Matt Busby, who comes out of retirement to help the boy and his teammates.
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Pilar López de Ayala,
Set in 1984 and inspired by true events, 'Believe' is a funny and touching fictional tale about the legendary Manchester United football manager Sir Matt Busby, who helps a wayward boy fulfill his dream. An act of petty crime by 11 year old Georgie becomes a collision of fate as Sir Matt tracks him down, only to discover that the boy is an extraordinarily gifted footballer and captain of a team of unruly talents. Having lived with football all his life and survived the tragic 1958 Munich plane disaster, in which eight of his young players were killed, Sir Matt is still committed to continue his work of 'training lads for life' and so begins a thrilling adventure as Sir Matt Busby, comes out of retirement to transform a young group of scallywags into a dream team. Written by
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Believe is a British football movie that finds the legendary Sir Matt Busby (Brian Cox) coaching a kids 7 a side football team. Matt Busby was the manager of Manchester United Football Club, who lost their team of starlets (known as The Busby Babes) to the Munich air crash of 1958. Busby would then go on to rebuild the team and make them into a world force, one that still exists today. Here he is in long retirement exile, but still moulding young football minds. It's based on true events.
We have a heavy dose of sentimentality on offer here, not just with the flashbacks to the tragic loss of The Busby Babes, but also to the working class kids of terrace housed Manchester. Of single parents trying to make ends meet, of kids with absent fathers erring on the wrong side of the law, education a dangled carrot just out of reach.
However, the sentimentality is not cloying, it's well handled and performed, but the pic never gets to uplift status. It has some good laughs in the mix, usually when Toby Stephens' pompous school tutor is on screen, while the ultimate conclusion - even though it's what we expect - warms the cockles, but it never branches out to be more than just a family film for kiddies who like football, or for Manchester folk eager for anything involving Sir Matt Busby.
It makes for a decent "B" movie support to There's Only One Jimmy Grimble, though not nearly as good as that film. Cox, Stephens and the tender Busby Babes sequences (very Field of Dreams) make it worth a watch, but it should have been smarter and better. 6/10
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