Sixty Six (2006)
“It was Bernie’s big day, but there was a little competition.”
Director: Paul Weiland
Cast: Charlie Clark, Nick Sherm, Thomas Drewson
Synopsis: A boy’s barmitzvah looks set to be a disaster when it coincides with the 1966 World Cup Final.
Judging by how few people know about it, it looks as if Paul Weiland’s amusing little comedy has been sorely overlooked. It’s a shame, because this is the type of film we Brits probably do best: small and personal and centred around a nostalgic remembrance of family. As the film is also based around events leading up to England’s victorious World Cup campaign of 1966, it is probably less likely to appeal to people from overseas. That’s a shame, because the theme of the story — which admittedly doesn’t really come to the fore until the final reel — is much more universal: the relationship between a young boy and his father.
The humour in this film is of the gentle kind (although the sight of Manny Rubens driving his Austin 1100 (I think) at 25mph with a big Alsatian standing on the bonnet had me laughing out loud), and may not be suitable for those who don’t have at least a dim recollection of the era it depicts (I’m too young to remember the Cup final of ’66 but much of the painstaking recreation of the time reminds me of my own childhood). The attention to detail is flawless, really transporting the viewer back to England in the mid-60s.
The performances are appealing throughout. Eddie Marsen, as the boy’s hapless father, steals the show by a mile, while Helena Bonham-Carter plays against type as his wife. In fact, given the type of role she is better known for, she is extremely good here, managing to capture the essence of a young Jewish mother without turning her character into a stereotype.