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Review: Celtic Soul doesn’t quite get to the heart of sports fandom Add to ...

  • Directed by Michael McNamara
  • Written by Michael McNamara
  • Starring Jay Baruchel, Eoin O’Callaghan
  • Classification 14A
  • Genre documentary
  • Year 2016
  • Country Canada
  • Language English

If religion is the opiate of the masses, sports fandom is its booze. In a loose but entertaining enough documentary about ancestry, kinship and the pseudo-spiritualism of sports culture, new pals Jay Baruchel (the Canadian writer-actor) and Eoin O’Callaghan (an Irish soccer journalist) hit the road, from Baruchel’s Montreal over to Ireland and on to Glasgow’s Celtic Park, the green home of Baruchel’s beloved Celtic Football Club. Unpolished and often sophomoric, Celtic Soul winningly follows the actor as he connects to his Irish (pipes, pints and potato famine) heritage. The film, however, is less successful equating footie fanaticism with religious faith – no, playing gates-of-heaven music when the wide-eyed boys visit the “paradise” soccer pitch doesn’t cut it. Mind you, when Baruchel speaks of watching Celtic games on television as a child and buying the excitement of it “hook, line and sinker,” the appeal of religion is well (if unwittingly) explained.

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