Boys own wish fulfilment from the grim North of England.7/10
When Saturday Comes is directed by Maria Giese who also adapts the screenplay from a story by James Daly. It stars Sean Bean, Emily Lloyd, Craig Kelly, Pete Postlethwaite, John McEnery and Melanie Hill. Music is by Anne Dudley and Joe Elliott of Def Leopard fame, and cinematography is by Grant Cameron and Gerry Fisher.
Jimmy Muir (Bean) loves football, beer and women, his lads life is fun but certainly it could be better. Perhaps now that he is dating sexy wages clerk Annie Doherty (Lloyd) things are starting to settle in his life? More reason for optimism is that his football prowess has been noticed by Ken Jackson (Postlethwaite), the coach of Hallam FC, a man with friendly links to the manager of Jimmy's beloved Sheffield United. The world, it seems, is Jimmy's oyster, but problems at home, of the heart and socially, could scupper Jimmy's last chance for glory and life fulfilment.
Completely fantastical rags to riches sports movie with a keen eye for working class based social realism, When Saturday Comes is one of the better football based movies out there. But it is in a genre splinter that's hardly brimming with quality anyway. True enough to say it's treading familiar turf, and the ending holds absolutely no surprises at all. While the last quarter of film badly rushes to get to the "punch the air moment", to leave the picture with a whiff of emptiness. But it's the off field aspects of the tale that strike the better chords.
Jimmy Muir is basically a good guy, he's just caught in the vortex of a blokey lifestyle. Themes of a parental stymie and peer pressure add a bite to the screenplay, especially since the backdrop is one of a working class place that offers only the mine and the brewery for employment. Football is Jimmy's beacon of hope, it keeps him sane, but can he be all he can be? As a character study, with Bean adding grit and emotional guts, Giese's film is assuredly a winner, if only the football aspects weren't so choppy and amateurish, then the film would be better thought of in the sports movie sphere.
Led by Bean, the performances are up to a good standard, even Lloyd, who manages to get away with an iffy Irish accent because her portrayal of Annie is so spunky and grounded. The photography suitably paints it as "Grim Up North", and Dudley's score is melodic and sits nicely with the various emotive turns in the narrative. There's issues and goofs within, especially obvious to those who know about British football, like how old is Bean? Mel Sterland playing for Sheffield United? A home semi-final in the FA Cup? And there's that annoying rush in the last quarter, where everything is condensed without thought to building up expectation. But it shoots and scores most of the time, particularly when away from the football pitch. 6.5/10