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Monday, November 06, 2006

Film Review: Sixty Six

Sixty Six (12a)
Dir. Paul Weiland

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s the question that every boy asks. It’s a mystery as deep as the world itself. It’s also the core of Sixty Six – a heart-warming coming-of-age tale that delves into that key moment in a boy’s life – when he ‘becomes a man’.
Billed as "a true...ish story", Sixty Six takes us back to the hazy summer of '66, to an England on the verge of a World Cup fever which for once yielded more than a contagion of car flags, a couple of novelty songs and endless ongoing recriminations as to ‘what went wrong’. This was a glorious year, the year when we took on the best in the world and came out on top but for 12 year-old Bernie Reuben (Gregg Sulkin) it was more than that – it was the summer he became a man.

Yes, if you’re born into the Jewish faith then most of your childhood is likely to be spent working towards your ‘Bar Mitzvah’ – the ceremonial celebration of your leaving childhood. I’m told that ‘Bar’ is Aramaic for ‘son’, and ‘Mitzvah’ is Hebrew for ‘commandment’ so the event literally means when you become a "son of the commandment." It’s a great day where you are the complete focus of attention, you get to read from the Torah in the synagogue and then there’s a big party in your honour. It should be a day to remember and for young Bernie it will be, unfortunately though his Bar Mitzvah is scheduled for the same day, at the same time as England play in the final of the World Cup…

Even though his uncle Jimmy (a fun wide boy performance from Brit talent Peter Serafinowicz) tells him: "England's got two chances - no chance and fat chance," Bernie is consumed with trepidation that the unlikely English national team will somehow make it the final and wreck his big day.
In case this all sounds a bit depressing, as per most Working Title films it is interspersed with some engagingly funny scenes – helped in no little part by having talent like comic genius Catherine Tate on hand.

Sixty Six might not be a ‘must see’ but if you want some heady football nostalgia wrapped up in an well produced story, this delivers a final act pay off that will warm the hardest of hearts. And in the afterglow of Spurs beating Chelsea that’s good enough for me!

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öö - solid momentum
Laughs ööö – Some really funny bits
Horror öö – Unless you fear Jews for any reason...
Babes ööö – Helena Bonham Carter still yummy

Overall ööö (competent and fun)

"she's still got it..."

Darkmatters: H O M E
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