‘The Beautiful Game’ Cast And Character Guide: Who’s Who In Bill Nighy’s Netflix Film?

The Beautiful Game by Thea Sharrock is available on Netflix now. The movie depicts the lives of homeless people and the adversities they face. As a sports drama film filled with characters wrestling with their demons, The Beautiful Game shows how the Homeless World Cup, as an initiative, works to raise awareness about homelessness, a raging social issue in almost every country in the world. But again, the point isn’t just to raise awareness. By giving this opportunity to people who have lost hope in themselves, this initiative intends to uplift these people and reinstate them in a society where they can function for their renewed self-esteem. The Homeless World Cup helps people believe in themselves again. The film surely sticks close to reality and pays homage to all those people around the world suffering without a roof above their heads. It presents an array of different characters who play an important role in the story. 

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Vinny

Vincent Walker, or Vinny, is the protagonist of the film. Played by Michael Ward, Vinny is a former footballer living in London. After being let go by West Ham United, Vinny becomes homeless and walks away from his wife, Ellie, and his daughter, Evie. He hardly ever sees them, and even though his daughter wants more of his attention, he is unavailable. Living out of his car, Vinny meets Mal, the manager of the English Homeless Football Team, who offers him to join the team as a striker. Vinny initially turns down the proposition but then reconsiders it after his life goes into further disarray. He joins the Homeless Football Team but is quite distant from the team as he looks down on them because of his own prejudice against them. However, Vinny is himself battling feelings of inadequacy. He was a child prodigy, but as an adult getting fired by West Ham United shattered his confidence.


Mal 

Mal Bradley, played by Bill Nighy, is a renowned football manager and a former football player himself. He is a thoughtful man who looks after his team and believes in uplifting the unprivileged. He scouted Vinny when he was still a kid. The reason he offered Vinny the opportunity to play in the Homeless World Cup was because he felt bad for Vinny. Even though Mal had scouted Vinny, he didn’t make it as a player, which made him cynical about everything. 

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Nathan 

Nathan, played by Callum Scott Howells, is one of the players on the English football team. He is a recovering heroin addict and requires a regular dose of methadone for his withdrawal. He has a strained relationship with his mother, suggesting a rough past, as he is not allowed to visit her at all. He looks up to Vinny a lot, even though Vinny calls him a junkie. In the end, he ends up missing his dose of methadone, which makes him suffer from symptoms of withdrawal once again, making him unable to play the game. Because of this, he chooses to leave the game and go back home. 


Cal 

Cal, played by Kit Young, is the striker of the English Homeless Football Team. Before becoming homeless, he had a drinking problem. Because of his alcohol abuse, he once walked out on his 4-year-old child, leaving the kid alone for 36 hours. He firmly believes in redemption, and that is why he is playing in the tournament. Initially, he feels conflicted about Mal inviting Vinny to play for the team as a striker, but eventually, he bonds with him as well. 

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Aldar 

Aldar, played by Robin Nazari, plays for the English football team. He is a refugee from Syria of Kurdish origin. Hailing from the town of Afrin in Syria, he worked as a barber before his family was killed in a bombing and he had to move to the UK. He still hopes for the war to end so that he can go back and resume his profession as a barber. Aldar is quite a brilliant strategist, as he can efficiently analyze the players of other teams. He plays an important role in the story for Vinny to dispel his prejudice against the other players on their team. 


Jason 

Jason, played by Sheyi Cole, is another member of the English team. Jason is a homeless man living in London. He runs into a bit of trouble while in Rome. First, when he steals a bunch of stuff from the airport shops, for which he receives scolding from Mal. Later, he develops a crush on Rosita Hernandez, the striker for the US team, and ends up making a crude sexual remark that offends her. The manager for the US team then approaches Mal with a complaint against Jason and expects him to show accountability and apologize. Feeling bad, he goes to Rosita and apologizes for his actions. 

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Kevin 

Kevin, played by Tom Vaughn-Lawlor, is another homeless man representing England in Rome. Kevin was a rich man once, traveling around the world for his work. He owned a company of his own until he developed a gambling addiction. He was supposed to pay wages to his workers but ended up exhausting the funds on gambling. 


Sister Protasia

Sister Protasia is played by Susan Wokoma. Protasia is the manager of the South African football team at the Homeless World Cup. Although she is always driven by a noble cause, she is an extremely persuasive woman. After the English team wins their match with South Africa by default when the South African team is stuck at Cape Town airport, she meets up with Vinny and convinces him to schedule a rematch on behalf of his team. Later on, when a member of her team is injured, Protasia once again convinces Vinny to play the finals for them, giving him the opportunity to win the tournament. 


Gabriella 

Gabriella is played by Valeria Golina. She is one of the co-founders of the Homeless World Cup Foundation and represents Italy. She is a close friend of Mal Bradley. It is suggested that Mal and Gabriella might even have some chemistry. 


Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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