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Paul Ashworth (Colin Firth), the English teacher is a keen soccer fan, a noisy one at times, as Sarah (Ruth Gemmell), the new teacher at the suburban school discovers to her annoyance. He has followed Arsenal for 18 years and hopes that this year, finally, their day will come in the championships. She couldnít care tuppence. At first. Itís just a game, she says one day, rather badly upsetting him, just as they are falling in love quite seriously. Thatís the worst thing to say to a sports fan. The game itself may be passing, but the focus it gives and the sense of belonging, of a team that occupies a place in the heart not just on the field. . .well, these are the things the fans see. And say. As the love affair yo-yos from cold to hot, both begin to understand about this passion of his for soccer, so much so that in the end he learns how to abandon it. To be free.

Review by Louise Keller:
Fever Pitch is a film about passion. The passion just happens to be soccer, but you donít need to be an enthusiast to be infected by the bug. This feel-good film infectiously shows how passion and commitment to it can change our lives, and propel us to an emotional high. Itís a girl-meets-boy film that will charm you with child-like zest. We first see the (soccer) game through the eyes of a 12 year old boy; his newly discovered excitement for the game totally changes his strained relationship with his father, and forthwith changes his life. As an English teacher many years later, his love for soccer becomes the means by which he communicates to his pupils, the catalyst for his falling in love . . . It is interesting to note that throughout the film, we never actually see a soccer match - only a few glimpses of play here and there. What we do see, however, are the fans watching the match: the soccer enthusiasts, those with a passion for the game - wearing the Arsenal red and white colours, cheering, yelling, going berserkÖ. Itís a lively script with super performances by leads Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmell. Firth displays the kind of electric enthusiasm that charms like the Pied Piper - totally contagious. Fever Pitch exudes a certain joie de vivre that will put a skip in your walk.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fever Pitch is another accolade for English acting: like so many British cinematic successes, it is a showcase for brilliant ensemble performances. And this film very much lives or dies by the strength of its characters. English actors are almost without exception character actors, as distinct from stars who keep playing variations of themselves, (please send your list of exceptions by emailÖ.) and in Fever Pitch they all shine. Firth is given some great lines and he delivers them brilliantly, especially in some of the scenes where he is clashing with Sarah (Gemmell). Driven along by a good sense of pace and a pushy soundtrack that gathers a motley crew of bands, Fever Pitch has only one flaw as far as Iím concerned: itís flashbacks to the young Paul are a tad confusing for most of the film, and it was only at the end I realised it was the same bloke. But itís fun and games, all right.

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CAST: Colin Firth, Ruth Gemmell, Neil Pearson, Lorraine Ashbourne, Mark Strong, Holly Aird, Ken Stott, Stephen Rea

PRODUCER: Amanda Posey

DIRECTOR: David Evans

SCRIPT: Nick Hornby (based on his book


EDITOR: Scott Thomas

MUSIC: Neill MacColl, Boo Hewerdine


RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes




VIDEO RELEASE: February 5, 2003 (also on DVD)

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