Gascoigne – Film Review

A moving portrait of a fame-damaged man trying to rebuild his life

Paul Gascoigne’s tears when England lost to West Germany in the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup made him a national treasure. Since then, the 48-year-old’s life has unravelled publicly, but this film from British TV documentary maker Jane Preston tells the story in his own words. The first portion lovingly remembers the highs – Gazza taking an ostrich to training and playing against Argentina’s Diego Maradona when both players were drunk. Dealing with weightier subject matter – alcoholism, marital problems, phone hacking – the second half feels fleeting, but Gascoigne’s candour is striking. More than a reminder of a football genius, Gascoigne is a moving portrait of a fame-damaged man trying to rebuild his life.