NJ INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: A Review of “IN THE GAME” An Unconventional Soccer Documentary By John D’Amico February 26, 2016
Editor’s Note: It was perfectly synchronistic that John reviewed a soccer film at the NJ International Film Festival. For the second straight year, NJ Discover provides the live TV broadcasts for Sky Blue FC, New Jersey’s professional Women’s Soccer team competing in the National Women’s Soccer League and playing their home games at Rutgers’ Yurcak Field. http://www.skybluefc.com/ Calvin Schwartz
John D’Amico is a currently a Rutgers senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Political Science. He briefly wrote for Brookdale Community College’s student newspaper “The Stall.” While at Rutgers, John has written for The Targum, and currently writes for the student arts and culture magazine “The Rutgers Review,” as well as for the Rutgers edition of TheTab.com. John’s interests include politics, film, television, and hopes to become a professional film or television critic. Contact John: firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Into the Game’ – An Interesting Soccer Documentary from NJ Film Festival at Rutgers
By John D’Amico
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with ‘Into the Game’. Honestly, before I watched it, I knew nothing about it other than that it was a documentary feature. As it turns out, I found it to be a pleasant surprise.
‘Into the Game’ is a sports documentary that recently played at the Spring 2016 NJ Film Festival here at Rutgers(actually held during Winter 2016) It tells the story of several recent members of Chicago’s Kelly High School’s girls’ soccer team. The part of Chicago these girls live in, is a relatively poor area, and also made up of mostly Hispanics. The movie takes place over four years. And it actually focuses more on the girls and their coach than it does on the sport itself.
The film follows multiple members of the team over four years. And writer/director Maria Finitzo really gives the film a very cinematic feel. It felt kind of like watching a typical narrative/fiction movie. And I mean that as a good thing. It felt like I was watching a very well-made and entertaining story. And at the same time, the fact that I knew that these were real people gave it even more weight. When the girls talk about their frequent financial struggles, you really feel sympathetic for them. When they talk about what they’re going through with their education, you definitely relate to their struggles. When the film examines the racial and gender-based issues that the girls experience, you can really understand what they’re going through. Yes, the film takes a look at some of those social issues. But the focus here was more on the people themselves.
In fact, in addition to the young athletes, the movie also follows the team’s longtime coach. He seems like a pretty interesting person as well. You get the sense that he really has a lot of passion for the team. But the thing is, he’s not so much concerned about how many games they win. He’s more concerned about his team feeling like a family. He even says as much. He’s a very likable person that way.
If I had one criticism to make of this film, it would be that the pacing could have been a little bit better at times. Even with its relatively short runtime of 76 minutes, there were moments when I found myself getting bored. But overall, I still recommend checking this documentary out if you get the chance. I give it 7.5 out of 10. It’s very good.
In The Game – Maria Finitzo (Chicago, Illinois) TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk231Azot6k
In the Game is not a conventional documentary about a scrappy, inner-city girls soccer team that wins a championship through hard work and persistence. Rather, it’s a documentary about race, class, and gender as seen through the lives of inner-city girls. But this is not just a film about a soccer team dealing with loss and economic hardship. It’s an exhilarating portrait of girls who are learning to win in life. 2015; 76 min. Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA Centers)!
INFORMATION New Jersey International Film Festival
Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center
Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies
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(848) 932-8482 phone (732) 932-1935 fax;
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Web Site: www.njfilmfest.com