What ‘The Beautiful Game’ teaches us about Homelessness

movie poster for the Beautiful Game
The Beautiful Game brings attention to the Homeless World Cup through a heartfelt and humanising story. Photo credit: Netflix 2024

Today, Netflix released The Beautiful Game; the motivational story of the Homeless World Cup.

While reviewing the latest ‘feel-good’ film might seem like an odd choice for a homeless charity, we feel there’s a lot to take away from this movie when it comes to better understanding homelessness.

The Beautiful Game shows audiences that people facing homelessness are just like anybody else. They have hopes and dreams for the future, form friendships and with the right support, they can achieve incredible things.

Here’s why its our recommended watch for your bank holiday weekend.

What is The Beautiful Game?

The Beautiful Game tells the story of England’s football team as they prepare for the Homeless World Cup.

Starring Bill Nighy as the team’s manager, the movie follows the team as they travel to Rome for the tournament. The movie also follows the talented but troubled Vinny, played by Michael Ward. If he can recover from his past and learn to work with his team they have a real shot at bringing the game home.

What is the Homeless World Cup?

The Homeless World Cup is a football tournament with purpose, aimed at supporting the global homeless community.

By using the universal appeal of football, the annual event works to change the lives of participants and shape attitudes. This helps people grow from feeling forgotten to being celebrated on a global stage.

In 2024 the Homeless World Cup will be held in Seoul, South Korea.

The 8-day footballing festival will be the first time the Homeless World Cup has been held in Asia since the tournament was introduced in 2003 and promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for up to 500 players from across the globe.

You can find out more here.

To find out more about England’s team, click here.

What makes this movie special?

It’s rare that people experiencing homelessness get to share their stories.

And when we do hear about homelessness, it’s often through media that focuses on the causes, challenges and statistics around homelessness.

But The Beautiful Game centres people. And while the people featured are fictional, their stories reflect the experiences of many people we support – this includes what makes them who they are outside of their homelessness experience.

This movie also highlights an important idea that, like the people facing homelessness, solutions to homelessness are often misunderstood.

Ending homelessness is about a lot more than housing. Reminding people of their humanity, dignity and freedom is often the first barrier we face. Once this is restored, people are much more likely to feel confident in their ability to recover from life on the streets.

From here, recovering from homelessness and finding home can be a slow and staggered journey.

But with support, patience and kindness, people can find their way home.

For some, this journey might start on a football pitch.

Please note, The Connection at St. Martin’s is not affiliated with Netflix or The Beautiful Game.