Starring: Gregg Sulkin, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Marsan
Director: Paul Welland
Running Time: 93 mins
Sixty Six is a British film about a young boy who begins preparations for the event of his life: his bar mitzvah. However, the celebration is scheduled for the same as the World Cup final at Wembley, which could derail his big day if England get there.
Everybody knows the story of England’s triumph at the 1966 World Cup. And it’s always nice to see a story harking back to that incredible summer of elation. Or perhaps not for everybody. Sixty Six, for all its wonderful nostalgia, takes a unique look at that time, from the perspective of someone who didn’t want England to win.
I’m sure there’s a Scottish film somewhere about the country willing England to lose at Wembley, but the great thing about Sixty Six is the way it pits your desire to see England win the World Cup against your love for the film’s main character, a testament to how well it tells its story.
Blending both nostalgia for the summer of 1966 and childhood in general, Sixty Six is a really wonderful and genuine film that’s in no way as predictable as its ‘TV film’ aesthetic might suggest.
It’s uplifting, but more because we get to spend an hour and a half with a young boy doing everything he can to make sure his big day is as good as can be, even if that means trying to make England lose.
The thought of anything coming at the expense of England winning the World Cup is a horror to think of for me, but the fact that this film manages to endear you so much to its lead character to the point that you might want it to happen is really, really impressive.
Of course, it’s a bit of wishful thinking given that we know the history, but it fits in with the film’s nostalgia for childhood, with an innocent, imaginative atmosphere that makes it a whole lot of fun to watch.
Gregg Sulkin is an absolute joy in the lead role, while supporting players Helena Bonham Carter and Stephen Rea also bring some wonderful charisma to the table, only making the film even more enjoyable.
Overall, I had a lovely time with Sixty Six. A gorgeous bit of period nostalgia that looks at one of England’s greatest moments from the other side of the coin, the film is a wonderfully endearing watch, with delightful performances and a well-written story. So, that’s why I’m giving Sixty Six a 7.5.