Pele: Birth of a Legend is the story of the soccer phenomenon and it’s a pleasure to watch this on the big screen!
Film: Pele:Birth of a Legend
Director: Jeff Zimbalist, Michael Zimbalist
Cast: Kevin de Paula, Leonardo Lima Carvalho, Seu Jorge, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Colm Meany
PELE STORY: Pele: Birth of a Legend is a fairly comprehensive and stirring story about a personality in football who needs no introduction whatsoever. His meteoric rise to fame and the playing style he popularized originated in the slums of Sao Paulo, where even grinding poverty couldn’t keep him from his passion. This is his story.
PELE MOVIE REVIEW: Right from the outset, this film goes for the mainline in terms of making an emotional connection with the audience. A lot of time is devoted to depicting Pele’s childhood (born Edson Arantes Do Nascimento and nicknamed Dico by his parents, he is in the film played by Carvalho and de Paula at various stages of his youth) and his passion for the game. Indeed, he was so poor that even purchasing a football was out of his financial reach. But that would not stop him from realizing his dream. Indeed, after Brazil’s devastating loss in the 1950 World Cup final, a saddened nine-year-old Dico makes the bold and unlikely promise to his father that someday he will go on to win a World Cup for Brazil.
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist take care to depict Pele’s own unique and original style of playing, which came to be known as Ginga. The playing style is almost rhythmic in its flow, which was very different from the rather methodical style of other teams at that time. AR Rahman’s music goes a long way towards translating the game’s exuberance onscreen. And when Pele does dribble the ball, it looks like he’s dancing with it. These are some of the highlights of the movie.
What can bog the film down at times though is that it can get a bit heavy-handed. The very same emotion that it goes for, can make it a bit drippy at times. The movie’s trajectory is also a bit predictable and you should know that this film focuses quite squarely on his early life.
But having said that, the good points outweigh the bad, and if you’re a football fan, you’ll realize why football’s ‘the beautiful game’ description came to be associated with Pele.
So go find out how this 17-year-old boy won the world cup in 1958 for Brazil. And for all his fans out there, Pele does appear in the film!