Even if you are like me and have watched over 250 soccer movies, Alex & Me provides an enjoyable fresh take on the underdog theme. Despite going straight to DVD, it is an inspiring family-friendly film that is well worth watching by pre-teen girls as well as their parents.
“Alex” refers to Alex Morgan, currently the biggest star of the US WNT, who will be competing in France in a few months at the 2019 Womens World Cup (WWC 2019).
“Me” refers to 13-year old Reagan (Siena Augdong), who is one of Alex’s biggest fans. Reagan’s dream is to play for the dominating team Crush, but she is cut at their tryouts. She despondently tries to rip the Alex Morgan poster off her bedroom wall, but she hits her head. Alex steps out of the poster and becomes Reagan’s imaginary friend and personal coach.
As in the film Looking for Eric, the imaginary soccer star’s tips and guidance inspire Reagan to improve herself. Reagan joins the underdog Breakaways team and leads them to the championship game.
Not only had Writer-Director Eric Champnella been a soccer dad coach to his own kids, but his young daughter (named Reagan of course) was a big Alex Morgan fan. Thus the film came to embody a lot of his personal passions, and I suspect in some ways is a love letter to his family. In fact, real-life Reagan plays Bug (#7) on the team and puts in a couple of good crosses in the film.
Themes in the film
The movie has a few stereotypes (but watch the film to see how each gets its own little twist):
- The heartless military-style coach (James Moses Black) of the dominating Crush has some pretty good lines
- The know-nothing coach (Jerry Trainor) of the Breakaways got the job because of his fake British accent
- The Dad coach (Jim Klock) also doesn’t know anything about soccer but is a super nice guy
- The mean girl and her dad who pays her $25 for every goal she scores
- The team has no field. They sneak into a locked industrial yard to practice, then hide when workers come by
The movie is also about dealing with challenges of pre-teen life
- Establishing identity in the shadow of a highly successful sibling
- Achieving your goals when you have no parent to support you
- Believing in yourself even when you get cut at age 13
- Teammates seeing themselves as champions instead of as girls who got cut in club tryouts
- Bouncing back by working hard and having goals
Another nice aspect of the film is its depiction of a multi-racial family. Also, viewers can pick up a few soccer tips. The DVD includes several small features that give more information about the making of the film.
The soccer is well-done, which you’d have to expect when a soccer star is listed as co-producer. It’s too bad there are so few reviews or media around this film. It is as if Warner Brothers only sent DVDs to a few mommy-bloggers. Wish they’d sent one to me!
Future career for Alex Morgan?
This was Alex Morgan’s first film, and she studied with an acting coach 2 weeks before filming started. Then she wedged in filming during 2 weeks around USWNT games. Since she’s only an imaginary character, her role is limited to being positive and inspiring, and looking good. She does all of that well.
Edit: I forgot to mention something in my original draft. While all the actors in the film put in good performances, 13 year old Siena Augdong really sparkles. Siena and her character Reagan both demonstrate that young people can inspire teammates, family and adults as well as any star can.
Overall, I felt that Alex & Me started off my 2019 soccer movie viewing with something uplifting and entertaining. It’s a film with humor and good role models that I can share with my granddaughters. It was a huge turnaround after watching Morris from America last week, which was a completely different view of being 13 years old.
8 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 8
- Released: 2018-05-31 (USA)
- Also may be known as Alex and Me
- Director: Eric Champnella
- Stars: Alex Morgan , Siena Augdong
- Watch the Trailer
Update on May-09-2019: Alex Morgan autographed my DVD copy while in San Jose to train for the Mother’s Day USWNT friendly at Levi’s Stadium.