Based on a true story, The Keeper is an intimate foray into the human realities post-World War II. The movie follows Bert/Bernd Trautmann (David Kross), a German prisoner of war, whose exceptional goalkeeping skills are spotted by small town English soccer coach Jack Friar (John Henshaw).
Fearful of another defeat on the field, Friar persuades the war camp’s commander to allow Trautmann to play in the upcoming match. Like most other Englishmen in the country, Friar’s daughter Margaret (Freya Mavor) is sceptical and horrified at the decision. The film constantly grapples with this fear of the ‘Krauts’.
Trautmann struggles to be accepted on his merits and is met with hostility and apprehension at every turn. Viewers get to understand the human aspect of the war and how integration was a slow and arduous process, often hampered by prejudice. But, there were many out there like Trautmann who pushed the boundaries and never let others stop them from pursuing their passions and mending relations. He went on to become one of Manchester City‘s best goalkeepers.
The Keeper is also a romance at its heart, with viewers following Margaret’s steady acceptance of the German and the eventual blossoming of love. The film shows the hardships the pair were met with, their struggles with trusting one another and how they helped each other overcome the difficulties of Anglo-German relations. Trautmann was awarded an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) as well as the Order of Merit in Germany for his efforts in promoting transnational relations through football.
German director and screenwriter Marcus H. Rosenmüller brilliantly captures this timeless exploration into post-war sentiments and how sport was one of the gateways successfully used to unite two divided countries. Audiences cannot help but feel emotionally connected to the on-screen characters and invested in their greater journey.
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