In ‘Fever Pitch’ (1997) long-suffering Arsenal fan enjoys 1989

Fever Pitch (1997)

Funny how British soccer movies analyze the game’s joyless effect on its fans, in minute detail. I watched 3 of them in 2 days and realized that deep-down, the Brits hate soccer! Or at least, British screenwriters do.

Fever Pitch is taken from Nick Hornby’s first novel and stars Colin Firth, who excels at playing men who suffer largely from self-inflicted shortcomings. Firth is a 30ish teacher whose 2 decades of Arsenal fan worship have replaced his need for a father, a family, or any interest in his job. But though Arsenal has been a constant disappointment during those years, the 1989 season changes his life.

This movie is slow. It’s neither a comedy nor a romance, but a character study of a depressed fan. Interestingly, they depict what it was like to be in the claustrophobic, flesh-pressing SRO (Standing Room Only) section of the stadium. That season was the year of the Hillsborough disaster. The documentary 89 is another view of that season.

Frankly, Jimmy Fallon’s 2005 Boston Red Sox version of Fever Pitch is a lot more fun to watch than this movie.

For a list of football films that are largely about the fans, see this page.

4 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 4