Film Review: Finding Jack Charlton – 8.5/10

‘I couldn’t remember a lot of the memories…’

Finding Jack Charlton | Movie review – The Upcoming

Football is a sport that is so divided by petty tribalism and ‘banter’ that it is incredibly rare for the the beautiful game to be united behind one person. Brian Clough is one such figure, George Best another, and Jack Charlton was perhaps one of the last true legends of the game left until his untimely death in July 2020. Finding Jack Charlton is broadcaster and director Gabriel Clarke’s love letter to Jack, and it’s a letter that we should all be honoured to have the chance to read.

Few men in football had as storied a career as Jack Charlton. World cup winner. Warrior. Second fiddle. A legend in Ireland. Jackie did it all. Finding Jack Charlton focuses on all of these elements with a particular emphasis on Charlton’s time in Ireland and his stormy relationship with his brother Bobby. Through a mixture of archive footage, interviews with those who knew him best and highlights from his days as a player, Clarke does justice to a man who is a behemoth of the game. It is clear just how much this man is loved – interviews with Paul McGrath and Andy Townsend are particularly emotional – and the fact that this is all set against the backdrop of Jack’s struggle with dementia only adds an additional layer of prescience to a film that is already bursting with emotion.

What Jack Charlton achieved in his spell as Ireland manager transcends football, and it stands as a testament to the power of sport to move, inspire and change an entire nation. As with Clough and Best, what Charlton did will never be forgotten and this documentary will help to ensure that one of football’s most beloved sons will continue to receive the respect that he deserves. A touching and poignant retrospective of a life well lived.