Believe (2014)

Any movie is improved at least 10 percent by the presence of Scottish actor Brian Cox, even mushy sports drama Believe. Unfortunately, as Manchester United coach Matt Busby, Cox plays a generic foil for emo soccer hooligan Georgie Gallagher (Jack Smith). A Mr. Miyagi-type mentor who trains Georgie and his Little Rascals-esque soccer team for a local tournament, Matt teaches Georgie self-control by making him dribble grapefruit around traffic cones and find the goalpost's upper-right corner with his eyes closed. Georgie pouts through anything unrelated to soccer, from studying with fuddy-duddy schoolmaster Dr. Farquar (Toby Stephens) to eating meals prepared by working-class mom Erica (Natascha McElhone). And he drags his feet whenever Matt -- who's as energizing as a drugstore greeting card -- tries to inspire him. That's not surprising, since Matt favors trite, repetitive bon mots like "Talent is not enough; you have to have belief" and "Well, you know there's only one way to make sure it goes to the back of the net: belief."

Georgie's skeptical clamors of "What are you on about?" are patience-testing expression, as his character is defined by sulking. You may want to root for Cox just because he's more charming than Smith. But if you're not strictly focused on his sourpuss, Walter Matthau-worthy line delivery, your faith will be tested.

Credits

Director:

  • David Scheinmann

Cast:

  • Brian Cox
  • Natascha McElhone
  • Phillip Jackson
  • Toby Stephens
  • Anne Reid
  • Kate Ashfield
  • Richard Strange

Writers:

  • Massimiliano Durante
  • Carmelo Pennisi
  • David Scheinmann

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