28 July 2016 | michael-29356
An excellent movie, with a sturdy heartbeat
This is one of those movies you expect Disney to make weaving the twin draws of sports and human interest. If someone tried to make this story up, they would be criticized (rightly) as a schmaltzy writer. But since this is a true story, bring on the popcorn.
This is the true story of the Danish football team of 1992, which entered the Euro '92 tournament on a technicality (Yugoslavia was banned from international competition due to its complicity in the Balkan War). They proceeded to play lackluster football until they managed a stunning upset of France in its third game to make the semifinals. The Euro '92 only had 8 teams in 2 brackets, unlike Euro'16 which had 24 teams in 6 brackets. I won't spoil the ending (but they win the whole damn thing after beating Netherlands and then Germany in the finals). This team is revered in Denmark much as the 1980 Olympic US Men's Ice Hockey team and we get to see why.
The most compelling element was watching the evolution of the coach, Richard Moller-Nielsen, from a stubborn details man to a more impassioned leader. The heartbeat of the movie comes from the true story of Kim Vilfort, the veteran midfielder, whose daughter Line was suffering from cancer during the tournament. He leaves the team to return to her bedside and is then compelled by his family to return to the tournament where he scores the finishing goal in its upset win against Germany. Sadly, unlike a fictionalized movie, his daughter passes away soon thereafter.
Solid acting all around, and the actors do a commendable simulation of real football players. The director weaves in real footage and in- match commentary of the matches so we get a real appreciation of why this team is so loved in Denmark.