The Birth of the Goalie of the 2001 F.A. Cup Final (1985)

Films don’t change, we do.

A young couple considers having a baby. The wife becomes pregnant. They try to pick a name. The husband plays soccer while his wife gives birth. He visits his new baby in the hospital, cut to years later and he’s playing soccer with his son.

It’s a long span of time for a short film and Leigh chops the scenes down to the most crucial lines of dialog. At the same time, the husband and wife are so casual about the whole affair that their easy, almost dry reactions cut against the usual panic-filled, over-prepared, under-pressure responses that typically most comedies about first time parents.

When I first watched this film a year or two back I read the lack of excitement or hysterics in the couple’s reactions to first being pregnant and second to the child’s birth as being an ironic response simply designed for laughter. This is how many of the students watching the film with me read it. However, for me, having recently become a father I could no longer see the lack of elation as a mere gag. No, the husband and wife, in their restraint of pure elated joy are exhibiting the unmentioned fears that come with a newborn.


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