Pelé: Birth of a Legend

Pelé: Birth of a Legend ★★½

Endorsed by the man himself, this 2016 documentary now featured on Netflix is a nearly 2-hour long highlights reel that tickles my football/soccer heart without ever rising to be an equally artistic feat. 
Though it covers Pelé as the star, idol and icon that football/soccer fans remember, the film does little to expand on the man behind the myth, tiptoeing around meaty subjects as if it’s unwilling or unable to tackle them. While the sport fan in me appreciated the collection of beautiful and impressive goals (of which it has many) the sensation was that the film was little more than a PR-move to defend Pelé’s most controversial decisions and cement his legacy with a document that could potentially reintroduce the icon to a younger demographic. 
The film’s best moment comes early after a montage of old footage of the star at his peak is suddenly juxtaposed by an aging Pelé gingerly entering an empty hotel lobby with the help of a walker. It is this image of a frail and emotional old man that sets the stage for what could have been a moving study of mortality that is barely explored.