I am no football fan, and I don’t understand the rules of the game, but I’m still enticed by the publicity poster which says, “He had nothing but he gave the world everything.” Of course, I have heard of Pele, as he was a global sensation. Also, I’m the sort who watches almost all biopics at the cinema when I can.
The movie opens with a 17-year-old Pele looking awed by the venue and crowd at the 1958 World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden. A few moments later, we are brought back to Bauru, Brazil eight years earlier where we see the 9-year-old “Dico” as a poor and often-bullied village boy who loved playing football.
Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup final, and a tragedy also occured which made “Dico” see football as a way to atone for his sins. His father, an ex-footballer, told him, “A good player knows that fighting comes from insecurity. If you want to be a professional, you can’t be ashamed of who you are.”
A football scout left his calling card with “Dico”‘s parents after watching him play. The scene in which “Dico” realised that his mother had called this man who visited and offered to bring him to join the Santos Football Club is very touching – one of the many times I teared during the movie.
“Dico” remembered his father’s words, “When people laugh about you and how you play, you must never feel ashamed” and went on to score goal after goal.The Brazilian team was ridiculed by their opponents, but “Dico” again recalled his father’s advice, “You can’t let all these stuff get you. Believe in yourself. Now you must inspire your team to believe.” True enough, the Brazilian team showed everyone a beautiful game.
Football fans would love this movie! The matches are exciting (I get that from the uplifting and adrenaline-pumping music), and these are juxtaposed with actual footage of the games. (I could feel the joy and jubilation in the dancing and music as well.)
“Dico”, given the nickname ‘Pele’ since he was a child, was given the accolade of ‘National Treasure’ in 1961, and he would go on to score the most goals (1283) by a single player; and his ‘ginga‘ style of playing came to be celebrated by football teams all over the world.