To kick off the 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival presented by Palace Cinemas, we were invited to the opening screening of the Goya Award-winning comedy Champions (Campeones). In celebration of Spanish and Latin American cinema, more than 32 features will be presented from 24 April to 15 May. What better way to begin this fiesta than with this critically acclaimed feel good comedy!

Directed by Javier Fesser, Javier Gutiérrez stars as Marco Montes, the arrogant and determined assistant coach to the Spanish basketball team. His cocky behaviour and tumultuous personal life finally comes to a head as he is publicly disgraced following an altercation with his head coach. Shortly after this embarrassment Montes plunges his life deeper into chaos as he crashes into a police car while driving under the influence. After being sacked and avoiding what seemed to be inevitable jail time, he is sentenced to community service as an amateur basketball coach. What awaits him however is something he could not have expected, as his entire team suffer from varying mental disabilities.

The film does well to accurately portray the lives and struggles of those who have disabilities, while simultaneously combating prejudices. The heartwarming and humourous backstories of the players in Los Amigos add a touching element as the audiences can forge a genuine rapport. These aspiring sportsmen are on the lookout for pity, but for mutual respect as they live their lives just as everyone else. Montes begins to grasp this throughout the film, falling victim to their endearing charm. He too goes through tremendous character development, being able to reconcile with his wife due to some marital issues. He is able to harness his reckless emotional behaviour for good, as the team place as a runner up in their local competition, while securing his job once again for the national team.

Rating: 5/5

If you enjoyed this, why not read our review on Seth Rogan’s new film, Long Shot.