The craze for football has been there for decades. Even in countries where the game doesn’t really have a national team, people religiously follow the different tournaments and deeply admire their favourite players. One such football player who became the heart of Brazil and gradually of the entire world is Pelé.
Recently, Netflix released a documentary of almost 2 hours on the legendary football player who emerged out of nowhere and captured people’s hearts in no time. Directed by David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas, the documentary presents us Edson Arantes do Nascimento aka Pelé talking about his journey. We are also shown many footages tracing his journey from just a dreamer to a great achiever. The directors have also got on board his sister, a few of his fellow teammates from Santos, some journalists and writers.
Netflix’s Pelé documentary starts with the legendary Brazilian footballer entering a room and talking about his childhood. We are shown some pics and video clips where he’s just a kid. The 80-year-old football player talks about his father’s love for the game and how he also developed the same interest in the game.
The documentary covers the 4 big World Cup championships that changed the history of Brazil and Pelé’s life too. In the documentary, watching all those people in the year 1958 gives you a sense of melancholy and extreme gloominess. However, that changed when the country won its first-ever World Cup on June 29, 1958.
Pelé was just 17 at that time. His powerful game on the ground helped Brazil to win against Sweden by 5-2. As soon as Brazilians won the game, the stadium erupts into a loud cheer of joy and life. He became a hope of thousands of people in their country who somehow found a purpose and meaning to life. With this, rose his popularity and everyone wanted to know everything about him.
The documentary also highlights the World Cup games of 1962 and 1966 when he got injured amid the game. It was a heartbreaking moment for him and his admirers too. In the footages, we see tears rolling down people’s eyes. That’s just proof of how much people were devoted to him and the game of football too.
Directors David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas also mentioned some bits of his personal life. In the documentary, the 80-year-old accepts having multiple affairs and marriage with his first wife, Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi. But that’s about it. One doesn’t get much of an insight into his personal life (if that’s what they are looking for in the documentary).
The documentary takes a dark turn when former President of Brazil Emílio Garrastazu Médici’s dictatorship rule comes into the picture. In the public, Pelé has always maintained an apolitical stand. While the makers have asked a few tricky questions to the footballer about his true political scenarios at that time, there is nothing solid that is revealed.
Talking about Pelé’s sister, friends and writers who feature in the Netflix documentary, they all are constantly showering praises on him. As a viewer, it appears as if they are his diehard fans who can go on and on about why he is the best!
Pelé: Is It It Worth Or Not?
Overall, the documentary is like Wikipedia information with audio-visual content. A football lover might enjoy it more as that’s mainly their area of interest. It seems less of a documentary and more of a tribute to one of the world’s greatest footballers.
If you want to hear Pelé’s story in his own words, you can stream it. But if you are expecting something out of the box, sadly, there’s not much there. But you will be amazed to the extent at which people worshipped him and how many things changed in the world, but the madness for the game and its player persists.
Pelé is streaming on Netflix.
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