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Gifted with incredible athletic talent, Brazilian-born Heleno de Freitas conquered the soccer world in the 1940s. As his fame and fortune grew to new heights, his passion for a decadent life of women and nightclubs threatened his career. Featuring an Awards-caliber performance by Rodrigo Santoro (300, What to Expect When You're Expecting), Heleno depicts the thrilling life of the world's first sports superstar. (c) Screen Media

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 42%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"There's just so much one can care about this star athlete and his self-destructive journey."
‑ Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"José Henrique Fonseca's handsome black-and-white, impressionistic bio-drama goes very Raging Bull-ish, to tell a piece of the story of Heleno de Freitas, a Brazilian soccer star with matinee-idol charisma."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"The script rarely digs beneath the surface of its intriguing subject."
‑ Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue.com
"[C]uriously all but avoids the game -- except for a few opportunities for Heleno, a hothead with no self-control, to berate and abuse his teammates -- in favor of a lurid focus on his other public exploits."
‑ MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
"What you get instead of soccer is almost two hours of late-stage syphilis."
‑ Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post
"You're stuck daydreaming about a far, far better movie."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"A shallow glimpse into the life of Heleno de Freitas that's anchored by breathtaking black-and-white cinematography and a bravura, raw performance by Rodrigo Santoro. It ultimately nourishes your heart more than your mind."
‑ Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
"The film hints at a kicky, impressionistic style that director José Henrique Fonseca never effectively employs to actually communicate Heleno de Freitas's demons."
‑ Nick McCarthy, Slant Magazine
"Equal parts temper and tenderness, lust and incaution, "Heleno" is short on specifics but long on impression."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"From its flash-forward framing sequence to its glossy black and white images, the film emulates Raging Bull in nearly every particular, while failing to capture even a sliver of that tortured-soul sports-movie's insight or visceral power."
‑ Sam Adams, Time Out New York
"Heleno might have been stronger by better avoiding the clichés of its genre-yet there are still benefits to this stylish work."
‑ Eric Monder, Film Journal International
More reviews for Heleno on Rotten Tomatoes