Among the hundreds of complex, novel and boundary breaking films that have been released over the past few years, Believe’s old-school aesthetic and simple plot line are refreshingly comforting.
The stern and powerful Brian Cox takes up the role of revered Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, who just under 30 years on from the 1958 Munich plane disaster that killed many of his star players still feels tormented by his unfinished job. His collision with 11-year-old Georgie Gallagher, then, is one of those glittering wonders of fate that only occur in the simplest yet most uplifting of films, for Georgie is need of a not only a manager for his footy team, but a father-figure who knows what it takes for him to succeed.
The film is a heart-warming progression from the distresses of a fatherless, working class household in Manchester to the glory and shared love of the football pitch. The presentation of the middle class is almost comical, with Toby Stevens playing the tragically pompous Dr Farquar. But the unlikely friendships that are formed in the wake of Georgie’s talent and disadvantages play a huge part in the success of the film, promoting the equality that the sheer joy and glory of football brings about.
A wonderfully rustic and northern film at heart, Believe emits the same spirit and determination of youth that Billy Elliot does. The editing and camera framing establish the boyish, youthful aesthetic, reflecting the pure, unadulterated aspirations of the young, and the innocence of their sincerity.
But Believe is more than just a coming-of-age film, it deals with the deep-rooted psychological scars that personal tragedies can effect. And even with the loving support of wives and mothers (Anne Reid and Natascha McElhone respectively), nothing can be achieved unless you have belief in yourself, as well as each other.
Believe is released nationwide on 25th July 2014.