September 17, 2023

Dream: Soccer's High Kicks

Sports movies are generally about underdogs. Director/co-writer Lee Byeong-heon knows that and then lays it on thick with Dream. The story of an amateur team composed of homeless men who are all underdogs, this feel-good flick offers a rags-to-riches scenario to the nth degree. And the uplift isn't restricted to the players either. The coach (Park Seo-joon) is a pro with an image issue (and a mother who's a fugitive); the documentarian (Lee Ji-eun) shooting this against-the-odds tale is a filmmaker whose own career has hit rock bottom.

The question is not what do these people have working against them. Because the answer to that one is everything. Including no sponsors, a acutely felt social stigma, a divorce, old age, unemployment, and the sexual assault of one athlete's girlfriend. Somehow the real dilemma is can the coach resist the temptation of money and take his team to victory. Not ultimate victory. Maybe just one victory? Without help from the Brazilians? How about a tie? Or one point? Well, this movie is called Dream so let's go for something big! Like gay rights. I mean, why not?