Sixty Six (12A)



Comedy (2006)
94mins UK

Starring: Gregg Sulkin, Eddie Marsan, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Paul Weiland
Writer(s): Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Twelve-year-old Bernie is eagerly looking forward to a pivotal day in his young life: his Bar Mitzvah. Determined to outdo his older brother Alvie, Bernie excitedly plans every detail of his celebration, from seating plans to table decorations. Unfortunately, money is tight for Bernie's parents, Manny and Esther so Bernie is forced to scale down his Bar Mitzvah plans. To add to his misery, the date of the party coincides with the World Cup Final. If England makes it all the way to Wembley, no one will turn up and poor Bernie will be a laughing stock.

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LondonNet Film Review

Sixty Six
On Saturday July 1, 2006, the sporting dreams of an entire nation were once again shattered when the England football team crashed out of the FIFA World Cup on penalties...

From left to right: Ben Newton (Alvie Rubens), Catherine Tate (Aunty Lila), Front Centre Peter Serafinowicz (Uncle Jimmy), Eddie Marsan (Manny Rubens), Helena Bonham Carter (Esther Rubens), Gregg Sulkin (Bernie) in Sixty-Six. Copyright:  2006 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDWhen it comes to the young men with three lions on their shirts, history has a horrible way of repeating itself. Dry your eyes and prepare to relive happier times in Sixty Six, a charming coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the 1966 World Cup, where Geoff Hurst sealed victory for the home nation with a fourth goal that famously incited commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme to enthuse "Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over...It is now !"

Screenwriters Peter Straughan and Bridget O'Connor score a hat trick of laughs and tears with the touching human drama, inspired loosely by director Paul Weiland's childhood, witnessing the explosion of World Cup fever through the eyes of a boy whose life is forever changed by England's victory, and not necessarily for the better.

Twelve-year-old Bernie (Gregg Sulkin) is eagerly looking forward to a pivotal day in his young life: his Bar Mitzvah. Determined to outdo his older brother Alvie (Ben Newton), Bernie excitedly plans every detail of his celebration, from seating plans to table decorations. "Mine was going to be the Gone With The Wind of Bar Mitzvahs, the Cassius Clay of Bar Mitzvahs... I was going to be a legend!" he confides in voiceover.

Unfortunately, money is tight for Bernie's parents, Manny (Eddie Marsan) and Esther (Helena Bonham Carter), so the youngster is forced to scale down his plans. To add to Bernie's woes, the date of the party coincides with the World Cup Final. If England makes it all the way to Wembley, no one will turn up and poor Bernie will be a laughing stock.

While the rest of the country succumbs to patriotic flag-waving, Bernie secretly prays for the home nation to taste defeat.

Sixty Six is an absolute joy, a heartwarming account of growing pains distinguished by great performances from the ensemble cast, especially Marsan as the proud father who loses his fragile grasp on reality when the family business collapses.

Youngster Sulkin is stunning - his performance never once seems contrived, and the scene in which Bernie tearfully practices his Bar Mitzvah speech leaves a lump in the throat.

The screenplay is underscored with earthy humour, not least the banter between Bernie and his classmates. "My mum says you have your tonker cut off with a bread knife," reveals one lad, illuminating the intricacies of circumcision.

Comic relief comes from Catherine Tate as the boy's Aunty Lila, who bravely offers to do the catering for the party... despite possessing almost no culinary nous. All of Bernie's woes come to a head in the dramatic finale that shoots and scores on every emotional level.

- Heather Von Bourne

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