Love in the Time of Cholera

Starring Kuno Becker, Anna Friel and Alessandro Nivola. Directed by Jaume Collett-Serra.
Running Time: 110 mins
Rated: Rated PG (infrequent violence, coarse language and nudity).
The original Goal was a film with some heart and even some charm as a British scout in Los Angeles discovered a talented football player and brought him to Newcastle where he made the team and fell in love with a local nurse.

Living the Dream is the subtitle for this sequel - but the dream is something of a nightmare and, despite the triumphs, especially in the UEFA cup, there is something of a sour tone in this picture of the celebrity life.
Santi (Kuno Becker) should be content in Newcastle (despite it always being shown as raining there), should be marrying Roz (Anna Friel) and getting on better with his agent (Stephen Dillane) and his mercurial friend Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola). That should be living the dream.

However, his agent gets Santi an interview with Real Madrid and off he goes (to Spain where it is always bright and sunny). Will he get a match? That depends on his training and the decisions of the coach (Rutger Hauer). Will Roz want to go to Spain like Victoria Beckham or will she find it too difficult?

Speaking of the Beckhams, David Beckham appears (very frequently) as himself which makes the film at times seem like a Beckham promotional exercise. Other players like Zidane and Thierry Henri do appear but it is Beckham who counts. There is a lot of actual football footage.

The trouble with the dream is that it can go to one's head. Celebrities are pursued and caught in compromising positions. Fans are extremely demanding. (But, at least, Goal spares us shopaholic millionaire football wives and girlfriends.)

While Santi is trying to cope with all of this, some new elements appear from his back story, including discovering his mother (Elizabeth Pena) living in Madrid with a husband and son. This makes for some human interest beyond the football pitch.

And, just when it looks as though everything is going to be all right and Roz is glimpsed pregnant, the film stops. This is an interim episode and we will have to wait for Goal 3. But Goal 2 has somewhat dampened the original sense of enthusiasm and Goal 3 is not one of the most anticipated of trilogy endings.

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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