Taking a naturally less dramatic snapshot from a famous and dramatic career can often produce surprisingly touching emotions. Believe skips over the great honours and national admiration accrued by Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby and though touched on in flashbacks, keeps his survival and loss from the Munich air disaster largely in the background. Instead the film focuses on a retired, anonymous Busby taking a bunch of local Manchester kids under his wing and coaching
them to glory in a 5-a-side tournament. It’s all a bit too sugary sweet and telegraphed, with an often cringeworthy script only elevated by the charms of some 9 year olds.
It feels like a PG-rated Billy Elliot, but instead of Billy going against the grain to provide the film with some conflict, Georgie wants to pursue his passion of…football. He’s is a young Northern lad with a dead Dad, growing up in a working class family in the 80s, so it’s all immediately familiar, trading ballet shoes for studs. Busby (Brian Cox) discovers
Billy Georgie after the young ragamuffin tries to steal his wallet but instead of giving him the traditional clip around the ear, he sees one last chance to help the city’s kids.While Believe attempts to evoke the Munich disaster to give Busby’s community service some weight, it falls flat and feels disingenuous due to the saccharine placidity, which might explain why this film was unusually released on Sky Movies at the same time as its cinema release. TV movie fodder.
Believe is out now in the UK. Running time 96 mins. Certificate PG (UK).
Review by David Rank