Date Showing Showing On 23, 25, 26 September
Time Showing Monday 6pm, Wednesday 4pm and Thursday 6pm


PG 1hrs 44mins
comedy | 2023, USA | English

Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners.


Mild themes and coarse language

Taika Waititi
Original Review
Andrew Korpan, Clutch Points
Extracted By
Janez Zagoda
Michael Fassbender, Oscar Kightley, Kaimana

Watch The Trailer

NEXT GOAL WINS | Official Trailer | Searchlight Pictures

Storyline (warning: spoilers)

After suffering a 31-0 defeat to Australia in a qualifying match for the 2002 Federation Internationale de Football Association World Cup on April 11, 2001, the American Samoan men’s national football team became notorious for being the worst soccer team on the planet. To prepare for a 2011 match against Tonga to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, the lovable and optimistic American Samoa Football head (Oscar Kightley), hires America-based soccer coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender), who packs McEnroe-esque intensity. New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s latest injects his trademark quirk and humour (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) into a formulaic sports movie that picks up steam as it goes.
The transcendent island paradise setting is another bonus. While some story elements may appear unreal to the uninformed, such as the team having a transgender player, Jaiya Saelua (Kaimana, in their magnetic onscreen acting debut), or an eleventh-hour tragic, dramatic reveal about Rongen’s tragic backstory, which Waititi didn’t stretch too much; the film is an adaptation of a 2014 documentary with the same title.
Playing the team leader who butts heads and keeps Rongen in line, Kaimana manages to hold their own and steal a few scenes from the reliably excellent Fassbender. There’s nothing heavy-handed in Waititi’s approach, and it’s fun to see him challenge Western views as many judge the team’s gentle, wholesome values as a weakness – that is, until game day, when the team unleashes a fierce Samoan haka implying all is not what it appears and that the tables may turn.
Next Goal Wins will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. A balanced tale of laughs and real drama, Next Goal Wins succeeds at what it accomplishes. It could go deeper into the background and dynamics of its core characters, but it opts to be a pure crowd-pleaser. And in that regard, Next Goal Wins is a shoot and score.

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