David Scheinmann’s second directorial attempt, “Believe,” is an optimistically endearing and family friendly tale, based on true events, which paints a poetically poignant portrait of the importance of believing in ones dreams.
The film captures the attention of the audience from it’s inception as we follow Georgie, a mischievous 11 year-old aspiring footballer, as he dashes and darts his way through a mall setting in an effort to evade capture by a pair of pursuing adults. Through the well thought and beautifully shot intro sequences, the audience is quickly informed that the boy is a tremendous fan of the sport, to a fault, as he is donning a pronounced yellow Brazilian National Jersey and tightly clutching his well worn soccer ball.
Although, on the exterior, the core story involving Georgie is touching in and of itself, the film really deals with a wider array of human emotions. One that is prevalent throughout is the way that the various characters deal with losses they have suffered both in the past and near present. Another major theme is the disparity between socio-economic standing, gender, and academic capability. It is always refreshing to see a film tackle one of these touchy issues, and this film makes it a hat-trick by taking it to the goal on all three with brilliance. Perhaps the biggest theme is in keeping with the films title in that belief in one’s self is essential to one’s success and happiness throughout life.
Cinematic (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.)
Former Manchester United coach Matt Busby, played by Brian Cox (Troy), says it best.
“Training lads for life.”
From his kingly portrayal of Agamemnon in “Troy” to his cruel intentioned William Stryker in “X-Men 2,” I have been a long-time fan of the immensely talented and Emmy award winning Brian Cox. What I was not expecting was that I would be bedazzled by the acting chops of the seven wee boys and one wee lass that brilliantly put their cleats to the pitch. Georgie and his team jook, dribble and shoot their way into the hearts of the audience with their surprisingly dynamic and emotionally rich performances.
One scene in particular that showcased the convergence of raw emotion and plot points was between Georgie, played by Jack Smith, and Cox’s Matt Busby. Keep in mind that I am being purposefully vague in an effort to preserve the impact which this film can have on an unsuspecting audience.
Another relationship to note is that of Georgie and his mother. The evolution of their relationship and the way Scheinmann uses the story to evolve their mutual understanding of one another is enough to make even the most stoic person moist around the eyes.
With that said, this movie isn’t just mush and tears. There is a tremendous amount of comedy littered throughout the story, creating the multi-faceted cinematic topography of both comedic and emotional peaks and valleys. This is done best by the character Dr. Farquar, played by Toby Stephens (“Die Another Day”). The precocious and, at times, pretentious Dr. Farquar provides ample comic relief with his academic assertions and after hour antics. But as this film has so eloquently maintained that faith, or better put, belief in anyone or anything can yield surprising results.
From what I can tell, there are no computer generated sequences or special effects in this film. The entirety of the film relies upon the spot on character portrayals by the well-assembled cast and an equally spot on script. The camera work is raw and bites with the realism of growing up in the working middle class. I can honestly say that only once in a blue moon will I stumble upon a movie that is crafted in a way that I cannot lacerate the lack of script or point out the overabundance of special effects. Well last night, I watched this film beneath la Luna Azure. Any insertion of effects would have cheapened this classically crafted feel good film. The ensemble of children are all real life footballers, which made their on-screen performances both believable and exhilarating to watch. Just watching Georgie effortlessly juggle the ball with a definitive proficiency would make any person shy away from stepping foot on the pitch anytime soon, and this is coming from someone who has played soccer in the past. The camera work is skilled and the score is an apt and emotion stirring compliment to the lush visual landscape that they have created.
This is definitely a feel good family film, but that does not mean it is without substance, quite the contrary. “Believe” is able to capture a short moment of reality and present it in a unique and enthralling way. I would definitely say that this a movie that can be watched once a year, if for nothing more than to just put a smile on your face. Aside from smiles, the messages of understanding, belief in one’s self, and openness to self improvement are some things we can all take away from this movie. No matter our level of success or lack there of, no matter the strength or weakness of our bonds, this movie delves into the emotional core of what makes us who we are and what drives us to achieve.
“You have to have belief.”
- Entertainment Value
It is plainly evident that "Believe" is not only a well-crafted passion project about life, but also a thought provoking observation of the human experience. Considering all the factors including acting, cinematography, plot, and so forth, I cannot come up with any qualms as to why this unique gem shouldn't be a staple in every film fan's personal collection. I challenge you to watch it and not be able to relate to it on some level. Simply put, this really is a fantastic family friendly feel good movie that I would recommend to all viewers young and old.