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by Pat Frickey

Marcus H. Rosenmüller, Germany | UK

TRAUTMANN is a heartwarming World War II movie, as heartwarming as any WW II movie can be. It is based on the true story of Bert Trautmann (David Kross), a German prisoner of war (POW) who refuses repatriation back to Germany in 1948 to stay in England with his sweetheart, Margaret (Freya Mavor), and play football in his adopted country.

Blond, blue-eyed handsome with Nordic good looks, a fantastic goalkeeper, and a nice guy at that, how could the shopkeeper’s daughter Margaret living in the small village of St. Helens, not fall in love with Bert. Her father Jack Friar (John Henshaw) sneaks him out of a Lancashire prison camp to play in goal for a struggling local club. Little did wheeler dealer Jack know what he has unleashed.  

Trautmann’s life has fairytale elements. His good fortune however is balanced with an almost unbearable tragic death intensified by haunting wartime flashbacks. There are some twists and turns along the way including public outrage with the discovery of his Eiserne Kreuz  (iron cross) for service to the Nazis. Anti-German sentiment runs rampant until a local rabbi convinces the fans to accept that the war is over and a German is welcome to play in the league.

Bert Trautmann later becomes a national hero, the renowned Manchester City goalkeeper who plays to the end of the 1956 FA Cup Final despite having broken his neck. Director Marcus H. Rosenmüller has given us this feel-good film, exactly what we need right now.