NEXT GOAL WINS – A Review by Jenn Rohm

NEXT GOAL WINS – A Review by Jenn Rohm

Taika Waititi has taken a 2014 documentary and added a smidge of his touch to tell the story.  Using the same name, Next Goal Wins is about the American Samoa FIFA team.  They were the worst team in 2011.  FIFA is also at odds with Coach Thomas Rongen, whose temper makes for great TV coverage, and not the kind the sport wants.  Thomas is sent to American Samoa to get his head on straight and help the team to score a goal.   

The story loses itself as it bounces focus between the team, the locals, Rongen, and a player who goes by the name Jaiyah.  The story of a team coming around or a coach dealing with things in their life has been told many times.  This type of film is enjoyable and has a place. 

Personally, I wish the focus had been on Jaiyah with the other actors adding to the story.  With where the world is right now, I could see this being a compelling and positive piece.  As my name is not Taika Waititi, and I do not have the vision he has, it wasn’t my choice to make.    

Michael Fassbender does a good job with the role of Thomas Rongen.  The only critique I can offer is to work on portraying drunk.  I couldn’t always tell when he was supposed to be under the influence unless I saw what was poured into his glass.  Oscar Kightley as Tavita brought such a lovable wise character to the screen.  I want to go to American Samoa to meet the man himself.  The interaction among the teammates showed their love of the sport, their community, and each other.    

Lachlan Milne took me on an island vacation with how the movie was filmed.  There were very tranquil moments throughout showing just how beautiful our world is.  I also felt like I was at practice or the game during those shots as well.  Katrin Chong and Taylor Jean (and all their elves) made choices that reflected the location, their economy, and the availability of items where scenes were shot.  They were definitely working longer than “9 to 5” and made good choices.  

If you are looking for a feel-good film this holiday season, I recommend checking out Next Goal Wins.


Director: Taika Waititi    

Written By: Taika Waititi, Ian Morris

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Oscar Kightley, Kaimana, Davis Fane, Rachel House, Beulah Koale, Uli Latukefu, Semu Filipo, Lehi Falepapalangi, Will Arnett, Elisabeth Moss

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, and crude material

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Sport

Selig Rating: 3 stars

Runtime: 1h 43 m

Release Date: 11/17/2023

Movie Site: Next Goal Wins website

Trailer: Next Goal Wins Trailer


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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