Review: Mi Mundial (2017)

Mi Mundial (2017)

Mi Mundial is a charming Cinderella-like football tale, except this Cinderella returns to the ashes of his old life. This futbol pelicula is based on the 2010 children’s book of the same name, by former Uruguayan futbolista Daniel Baldi. A prolific author of mostly juvenile books mostly about football, Baldi uses much of his life in his stories, and he made sure that the film stayed true to its origin and message.

Thus, the story shows young Tito (Facundo Campelo), whose talent captures the attention of an agent. But Tito’s father and coach, who masquerades as a security guard when he leaves the house for work, actually cleans toilets and relies on charity to support his family. The father therefore puts education before soccer.

Regardless, the agent brings Tito and his impoverished family to Montevideo, where Tito’s ability wins him a starring spot as a 14 year old on a U17 team. As Tito is about to get an offer to go to Brazil, he suffers an accident and the family is forced to return home. Back in Nogales, Tito finally learns the value of an education. With this lesson, el camino es la recompensa, i.e. the journey is the reward.

This cautionary story should be shown to children worldwide, so that even if they and their parents believe sport is their only way out of poverty, they should understand not to bypass education. The film demonstrates how easily families can be swept away by sudden affluence, and how easily an injury can end a career and withdraw that affluence.

The soccer in the film is mostly of Tito evading tackles in practices and a few games. Young Facundo Campelo is a real footballer, but not that convincing as a wunderkind due to his character’s constant timidity and the actor’s physique and “daikon legs”. Tito’s father (Nestor Guzzini) is also distracting because his character is so negative and he looks like a sad-eyed obese basset hound. The only character I really enjoyed watching was Brazilian actor Roney Villela as the agent Rolando, who lacks humanity and is all business. For him, Tito is just an asset to be built up and pedaled. 

I found it interesting that it took Producer Lucia Gaviglio 6 years to bring this film to theaters. She also brought first time Director Carlos Morelli, who lives in Germany, back to Uruguay for 3 months to direct this film. 
The English title is Home Team or sometimes translated as My World or My World Cup.

7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7

In Spanish. 
There is a version with English sub-titles, but I watched this film on HBO, which only had Spanish sub-titles. My Spanish is at a first-year level, so I can only understand 1 out of every 10 written words. I pretty much watched the whole film typing Spanish into Google Translate. This obviously adversely affected my enjoyment of the film, and I will not try that method again!