Often, the sports film genre has hidden gem. Not only are they feel-good films but they also educate audiences about the sport at the center of the film. In this vein, The Bromley Boys, directed by Steve Kelly, combines my love of football and appreciation of coming of age stories into 90-minutes of pure entertainment.
The film follows Dave Roberts (Brenock O’Connor), a fifteen-year-old boy and big football fanatic. His father (Alan Davies) isn’t too happy with his son’s strong connection with the sport while his mom (Martine McCutcheon) is much more supportive. She allows him to see the local non-league club in their town, Bromley FC but makes him promise to not tell his dad.
As Dave attends more games, he quickly becomes a fan of Alan Stonebridge (Ross Anderson). However, he finds a major secret about Stonebridge after sneaking into the club owner’s (Jamie Foreman) office, which could very much put the fate of the club in jeopardy. Not knowing what to make of the news, Dave tries to come up with a plan with help from other football fanatics and the club owner’s daughter, Ruby (Savannah Baker).
O’Connor’s portrayal of Dave was incredible. The way his character was written showed me just how much he loved football and how far he was willing to go to save his favorite club. There’s a scene where he is hanging out with Ruby and he brags that he can name all the plays in the Bromley FC team. He does come off as a bit of a show-off but it’s clear that this is something that he’s proud of. The fact that his love for the sport makes him socially awkward and gets him in trouble is a great addition to the film. It really resonated with me, making me reflect on being back in high school and obsessing over the things I liked. It wouldn’t be surprising if this also happens to other viewers.
An interesting contrast to his love of football is Dave’s relationship with Ruby. Since he’s socially awkward, Dave doesn’t really know how to communicate with her. He struggles connecting with her, which is shown in a scene where he accidentally head-butts her as he tries to show her a football trick.
As the movie progresses, he begins to fully bond with her, which collides with his love of football. The film doesn’t completely make this dilemma easy for Dave to handle since he still seems to care more about saving the club more than her throughout most of the film. However, Ruby is a reminder that not everything in life has to be about one thing. It’s that realization that makes Dave take an interest in her.
The dynamic between Dave and his father is one of the central elements of The Bromley Boys. The film quickly makes the father seem like someone who doesn’t care about any of his son’s interest. Dave has a better relationship with his mother, which is the whole reason why he becomes a fan of Bromley FC.
There’s a scene where his father is trying to capture Dave’s attention but he chooses to ignore him. Dave would have continued to ignore his father had his mother not reprimanded him. The film manages to tackle the father-son relationship in such a unique yet somewhat predictable manner. While the explanation as to why his father acts the way he does seems predictable, the effect of the revelation is what ultimately changes their relationship.
Ultimately, The Bromley Boys offers a feel-good movie that acts as a love letter to Bromley FC and football in general. With the film based on true events, it adds that historical element that football fans and general audiences alike will definitely appreciate. Dany’s journey of trying to save the club and his developing relationship with Ruby carries the film forward and creates a reason for audiences to root for him. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from The Bromley Boys, but I’m glad I was able to watch it. Even if you aren’t a football fan, I highly recommend this film.
The Bromley Boys is set to be released in the U.S. on August 19th.
The Bromley Boys
Ultimately, The Bromley Boys offers a feel-good movie that acts as a love letter to Bromley FC and football in general.