Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World Image

Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World

By Norman Gidney | August 2, 2022

Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World is a skillfully constructed documentary that follows the history, rise, fall, and redemption of football athlete Ronaldinho Gaúcho (born Ronaldinho de Assis Moreira). Directed by Andrew Douglas and Stuart Douglas, the film weaves a sweeping narrative that leans into the reasons behind success and failure, for better and worse. Here we see what made world-famous athlete Gaúcho rise above, what made him topple, and how he leveled with that. While the film clearly has a motive in redeeming the subject, the filmmakers tell a heartening tale that reminds audiences of the ingredients for true success, which are basically family and happiness.

The film nimbly bounces around the timeline with helpful title graphics throughout that keep us centered on when and where we are. The Douglas brothers anchor us in the current day, positioning the audience at an interview between the filmmakers, Gaúcho, and his older brother/manager Roberto de Assis Moreira. The film then reflects on Gaúcho and de Assis Moreira’s humble Brazillian upbringing. Their mother recalls that in their family, the two older siblings shielded their little brother from too much discipline.

Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World even shows us early footage of the soon-to-be superstar athlete and his ridiculous skill at keeping the ball in the air during various matches. The point is clear — this young kid has a talent that has been cultivated by a sturdy framework of family connection and joie de vivre. But could the same infectious sunshine be transplanted from Gaúcho’s Brazil to the international Football stage? Spoiler alert: it could. Soon enough, Barcelona’s struggling Football club secures Gaúcho, and the trajectory is set.

“…follows the history, rise, fall, and redemption of football athlete Ronaldinho Gaúcho.”

Season after season, Gaúcho lifts the spirits of Catalonia with infectious happiness. The team that ranked so low is now raised by the Brazillian lastborn with a spiritual gift for football. Here, we zero in on the tenuous hold on happiness a populace has. Gaúcho’s a living symbol of scrappy resilience with an infectious joy that can assist fans in seeking enjoyment. But, sadly, even he can and will falter.

Andrew Douglas and Stuart Douglas know their subject, and they handle him with a deserved playful reverence. Gaúcho’s an individual who was clearly handed a remarkable talent and saddled with garden variety adversity. The key is that, despite the trials, Gaúcho pushed for resolution through his insatiable connection with football, fame, and its competitive world.

The most substantial feature of Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World is how the directors keep us centered at any given time and place. We see Gaúcho’s timeline against our own with clear enunciation. Of course, the Douglas brothers also mine the myriad archival footage as well as backing up recollections and memories to fortify a narrative.

Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World is a polite, uplifting documentary that examines its subject with a wistful lens and the forgiveness of retrospect. Damn the salacious details or the undaunted pursuit of sports and fame. We have a lastborn with the divine gift of football that has capitalized on his skill to benefit his family. You can’t really be upset with that.

Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World (2022)

Directed: Andrew Douglas, Stuart Douglas


Starring: Ronaldinho Gaúcho, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Ronaldinho: The Happiest Man in the World Image


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