A ROMANTIC COMEDY ABOUT A MAN, A WOMAN AND A FOOTBALL TEAM.
Based on Nick Hornby's best-selling autobiography, FEVER PITCH follows a soccer fan's quest for true love during the course of Arsenal's Championship winning season of 1989-90 and stars Colin Firth in one of his breakthrough roles.
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Rumpled, amiable Colin Firth plays a rumpled, amiable English teacher named Paul. He's also an obsessive football (soccer to us Americans) fan who's been avidly following the Arsenal team for 18 years. When he falls into a relationship with a new teacher named Sarah (played by Ruth Gemmel), his deep attachment to Arsenal proves an obstacle. This sounds like some cheap men-and-women-don't-understand-each-other setup, but instead Fever Pitch not only explores the origins of Paul's football fandom, it actually communicates an infectious sense of what that kind of sports enthusiasm can mean, how it can provide an almost tribal identity. Even better, the movie takes this devotion seriously without ever losing sight of how it can be completely ridiculous at the same time, resulting in some amazing, funny scenes. Gemmel is charming, and Firth is simply superb. He's a great actor who's never quite fit into conventional leading man roles and so tends to play oddballs and redeemable villains, as in Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, and Apartment Zero. He's a perfect fit for this script, written by Nick Hornby (author of High Fidelity and About a Boy) from his novel of the same name. The humor of this movie is all the more engaging because it's grounded in richly developed characters and emotions. Fever Pitch is excellent. Also featuring a hilarious cameo by Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Guinevere). --Bret Fetzer