I enjoy watching documentaries about famous people. We build up a picture in our heads of how a celebrity is, what they do, how they function, but it’s usually based on half knowledge, based as it is on news reports and social media. What we read is often filtered through someone else’s prejudices and gives us a biased picture of the person.
Documentaries help us form our own opinions, help us to build a broader opinion of a person, and although they too will be filtered through the film-makers biases, hopefully help to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.
Now I’m not a football fan, I don’t watch matches or follow the football news. However I do know who Christiano Ronaldo is. Who doesn’t? His face is seen on billboards all over the world, his achievements are well known.
The film “Ronaldo” although not an in-depth documentary, takes you with the famous footballer for just over a year as he trains, plays and relaxes at home with his son and family.
We learn about his family, where he has come from, how he started. We get to see his brother, who talks about his struggle with addiction, how he coped with it and now manages Ronaldo’s museum, and what it is like to be living in the shadow of his famous brother. It delves into the loss of his father to alcoholism, the fact that his mother originally wanted to abort him, and his life with his young son, who he obviously loves immensely. One gets the impression that he misses his father a great deal and wants to be the best possible parent to his son.
“Ronaldo” is not a critical documentary, more a show-piece of the lifestyle of a successful footballer but nevertheless we do get an insight into his life and his thoughts.
There are a few scenes that seem rehearsed or staged, like when Ronaldo asks his son to guess which one of the sports-cars is missing from the garage but this goes to highlight the seeming insecurity of the man. Perhaps this insecurity is what drives him to be so good? To keep striving for success? This again is pointed to when we see his reaction to his rival Lionel Messi winning multiple Ballon D’ors.
One gets the feeling that despite all the success, all the acclaim, all the material rewards, that he is troubled and not truly happy. We tend to idolise these famous figures, make them larger than life, but really what does come across in a film like this is that they are just as human as the rest of us, with, just like us, all their own personal demons to conquer.