Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Champions (Campeones) - SIFF 2018 Movie Review

The Movie: Champions (Campeones)

The Director: Javier Fesser

The Cast: Javier Gutiérrez, Sergio Olmos, Julio Fernandez, Jesus Lago, Jesus Vidal

The Story: A basketball coach is sentenced to community service, forced to work with a team of mentally disabled players.

The Review:
This movie is one of the reasons why I love film festivals. It's genuinely funny in a way that makes you feel good about life. The creators don't shoot for bottom of the barrel laughs to get by, they're too busy filling the movie with so much heart, you will need to make sure you have a napkin or a tissue on hand for all of the emotional and inspirational moments.

Another key to why this movie works so well is in how respectful it is of the intellectually disabled characters. They are people. Nothing more and absolutely nothing less. Each member of the team has a very distinct personality, they each have a wonderfully unique sense of humor, and they work together beautifully both on the court and in life.

A couple of years ago, Javier Gutiérrez had a supporting role in Truman, a SIFF selection that I absolutely fell in love with and now here he is again although this time taking center stage as the down on his luck basketball coach. His performance is very honest and provides the grounded center that all the chaos and comedy revolves around. Without him anchoring this endeavor, I'm not sure if it would have held up as well as it does.

The Verdict:
Champions is not your typical underdog sports story but I loved every minute of it because of how genuine and funny it is from start to finish. This is a truly great movie that is filled with positive messaging and will add a little bit of hope and levity to the lives of anyone who watches it.

Champions is an official selection of the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival.

TwoOhSix.com coverage of SIFF 2018.

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