Saturday, November 11, 2006

SIXTY SIX - definitely one for the domestic market

Should you watch the new British film, SIXTY SIX? Take a look at the picture on the right: does it give you a shiver of excitement? If so, buy your ticket and take a hankie with you. If not, stay well away. For SIXTY SIX is a movie that cashes in heavily on English nostalgia for the great day in 1966 when we won the World Cup. Full of fantastic period costumes, hairstyles and set design - pumped up with a sound-track of pop hits - and interspersed with heart-lifting footage of England's progress to glory - I am not ashamed to say that I actually had tears in my eyes in the final frames when we see the heroic team bounding up the stairs to pick up the trophy from Her Maj.

Who in this country was not moved when that great Englishman, Gazza, wept bitter tears at the World Cup last year?In fairness, the movie is a brilliantly acted drama, with a little humour, a lot of pathos and not a small dollop of schmaltz. A geeky kid called Bernie Rubens is obsessing over his Bar Mitzvah. Finally, he'll have a day when he's the centre of attention. But he's not going to get the big day he dreamed of thanks to his family's financial difficulties and the fact that it coincides with the World Cup final. It's a brilliantly observed drama - evidently a semi-autobiography from director Paul Weiland. The movie hangs on three lovely, subtle performances from young Gregg Sulkin as Bernie Rubens,
Eddie Marsan as his father and Helena Bonham Carter as his mother. And it is indicative of the depth of talent in the cast that actors like Catherine Tate (bothered?!) and Stephen Rea are "wasted" on essentially cameo roles.

Still, for all the universally relevant stuff about how growing up means loving your parents despite their flaws, I am not sure how a non-English audience would react to this movie, let alone an audience of, say, Scots. Indeed, the movie cheekily acknowledges this fact by having a miserable Scottish policeman as a fleeting baddie! This is an unashamedly sentimental film and I suspect that to get 100 per cent out of it you have to be sentimental about 1966. The only bizarre thing, then, is that the producers didn't try to get the movie into English cinemas before this summer's World Cup finals when they would have undoubtedly cashed in.....

SIXTY SIX is on release in the UK and opens in Australia on March 1st 2007.


  1. I think I'll give this one a miss lol Not just coz it features Catherine Tate either.

  2. For me as a Dutchman, I liked this film very much. Beautiful set-decoration and wonderful acting, especially from Eddie Marsan. Too bad it didn't get much attention.