Loved Netflix's The Beautiful Game? Stream This Underrated 2023 Football Movie Next

Loved Netflix's The Beautiful Game? Stream This Underrated 2023 Football Movie Next
Image credit: Searchlight Pictures. Legion-Media

Taika Waititi's new movie is out now on Disney+.


  • A little over a week ago, many of us fell in love with the new sports drama The Beautiful Game on Netflix.
  • But there's an equally hilarious and uplifting 2023 soccer comedy from Taika Waititi.
  • The film is now available to stream on Disney+.

Soccer (or football, depending on where you live) never ceases to amaze us. After all, this type of team sport is so ingrained in our cultural memory and such a major source of entertainment for so many people that it is no longer just a game (or a commercial or charitable endeavor), but a full-fledged part of our everyday lives.

It is not surprising, then, that in many movies and television series, especially outside the United States, soccer becomes a dramatic artistic framework through which inspiring ideas about support and mutual aid, friendship and teamwork, and, of course, overcoming the insurmountable are conveyed.

It wasn't long ago that social platforms and media outlets were abuzz with the release of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+, as the series explored issues of trusting others and overcoming one's own trauma. And most recently, a new British sports drama, The Beautiful Game, starring Bill Nighy and Michael Ward, was released on Netflix and immediately became a Top 10 worldwide hit. The story of a team of underdogs preparing for the Homeless World Cup, it turned out to be an incredibly feel-good movie that was well received by critics and audiences alike.

And if you're looking for something similar after watching it, we suggest you check out another soccer movie directed by Taika Waititi that was recently added to Disney+.

What Is This Sports Movie About?

Coaching a team of underdogs through both on-field training and personal interaction, delving into the psyche and motivation of the players – this is by no means a new trope for either sports or sports drama. After all, we've seen it before in the aforementioned Ted Lasso and The Beautiful Game. But it's the kind of trope that never gets old, especially when it's imbued with an optimistic outlook on life and a deep realism. And so the new movie, like The Beautiful Game, is based on real events.

In November 2023, Taika Waititi's new movie, Next Goal Wins, was unfairly overlooked and overshadowed by The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Trolls Band Together, and Thanksgiving. And that's a big oversight, because this comedy-drama will appeal to all fans of the sports genre as well as fans of Waititi's hilarious style. The movie stars Rhys Darby, David Fane, Rachel House, Will Arnett and Angus Sampson of Our Flag Means Death fame.

The plot is a comedic dramatization of the 2014 documentary of the same name, and tells the story of struggling Dutch-American football coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender), who is invited to coach the American Samoa national team. But there's a catch – American Samoa was voted the worst team in the history of international soccer, losing 31-0 to Australia in 2001. The story also focuses heavily on the story of Jaiyah Saelua (Kaimana), the first non-binary trans woman to play in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.

What Do Critics and Audiences Think?

While The Beautiful Game was highly praised by critics with a score of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences were a bit cooler with a score of 74%. Next Goal Wins, on the other hand, did not impress critics with a score of only 45%, but delighted audiences with a score of 84%. Many ordinary viewers appreciated the feel-good nature of this sweet underdog story.

As we said, while The Beautiful Game is available on Netflix, Next Goal Wins is now available to stream on Disney+. You might also want to check out the original documentary of the same name, which has wowed critics and audiences alike. It is available on Prime Video.