Next Goal Wins (2023)

Next Goal Wins is a movie that I feel like I should love. It was brought to us by Taika Waititi (he’s the director behind Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit, and Thor: Love and Thunder) and it is about football, plus it stars Michael Fassbender (check him out in Alien: Covenant or X-Men: Dark Phoenix), three things I really like. It is a very typical Taika Waititi move in the way it is quirky and funny, but it also has a bit of heart too. Do not get me wrong, I did not dislike this, but I cannot see myself rushing to watch it again.

How to Download Next Goal Wins

Next Goal Wins was released on November 17, 2023. You should be able to download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and check the current availability. Just don’t confuse it with a 2024 documentary that has the same name

The Movie Review

One thing that is fun about the movie is that it is based on a true story. The true story of the American Samoa National football team who famously got demolished 31-0 by Australia in a World Cup qualifying match! They are regarded by most people as the worst international football team in the entire world.

Character Development and Performances

Michael Fassbender plays the role of a football coach called, Thomas Rongen. Rongen has some major anger issues and has a real bitter attitude and it costs him his wife and his current football coaching job. He comes across as rather unlikable at first, but the movie does a fantastic job of explaining the heartbreaking reason why he is the way he is and we do warm to him by the end of the movie.

Storyline and Team Dynamics

He is pretty much done due to his behavior and his last chance is being the coach of The American Samoa national team, something he sees as being way below him. He is welcomed with open arms by the head of the American Samoa Football Federation and we get to meet the players he is working with. A key and pretty awesome character is Jaiyah Saelua who is a non-binary trans player.

Exploring the Characters

The team just wants to score a goal in a competitive match and they have a kind of upbeat and fun attitude. I like how the players are not all down on themselves for the results they get and are mainly in this for the fun of playing football. However, the movie tries to make us care about several of the characters by giving some key characters their own moments to shine in the movie.

This is a great idea in theory, but it makes this a movie that can sometimes feel like it lacks focus. Once Rongen opens up and embraces the people and their culture, I think that is the real main plot of the movie. The supporting cast is great and when they are all together it is a lot of fun, but I think that they perhaps had just a little bit too much going on.

Film Direction and Cinematography

One thing that Taika Waititi does really well when directing this movie is showcasing the actual football. The camera work here is great, it gets right in the action and makes you feel like you are a part of it. It does not overdo this either, so when we are in a game it feels way more impactful.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Next Goal Wins is a feel-good sports movie and one that I am glad I watched. The thing is, it is kind of forgettable and while I liked it, it is not the kind of movie I would be desperate to watch again in a hurry. Still, if you like football and want a fun and heartwarming underdog story, you can do a lot worse than this.

Next Goal Wins
Next Goal Wins is a heartwarming, quirky sports comedy by Taika Waititi, starring Michael Fassbender, about the underdog American Samoa football team. Download it now.
7.5 Total Score
Next Goal Wins Review Summary

Sound & Music
  • The banter between the players is fun
  • Thomas Rongen was an interesting main character
  • The football action was shot very well
  • It is a fun sports comedy that anyone can enjoy
  • I do feel like they try to focus on two many different characters
  • While this is a good heartwarming story, it is kind of forgettable
User Rating: 5 (2 votes)
Searchlight Pictures
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Jason Delacey

Jason Delacey

Jason is a 40-year-old writer from Northern England. He has been playing video games his whole life and writing about them for over a decade. As well as enjoying gaming into the wee hours of the morning, Jason is a real film fanatic too! He is open to watching all genres of movies from animated singing animals to brutal horror!

Jason loves to give his honest opinion on games, movies, TV shows and is always willing to give anything a try!

Favorite Games: Resident Evil 4, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, Bioshock Infinite, Super Mario World, The Last of Us, Halo 2, Streets of Rage 2, Overwatch.

Favorite Movies: Terminator 2, The Empire Strikes Back, Avengers Infinity War, Bloodsport, The Transformers The Movie. Dogma, BASEketball, From Dusk Till Dawn

Favorite TV Shows: X-Files, Supernatural, Lost, American Horror Story, The Mandalorian, Stranger Things.