Destination Paris is a fun watch for soccer (or should I say football) fans who will enjoy watching the build-up to the 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League final game.
Paramount+ documentary film Destination Paris was released on September 6, 2022.
When they began filming Destination Paris, they couldn’t have known what an interesting experience the 2021-2022 UEFA (or Union of European Football Assocations) Champions League season would turn out to be. The soccer (or football, as it’s known in Europe) documentary traces the month building up to the final match of the season, but also ends up showing how the war in the Ukraine affected the most premiere football team.
Journalist and CBS sports analyst Guillem Balagué hosts the documentary, and he’s a great guide, making the story engaging even for those who don’t normally follow the UEFA season. He focuses not only on the competitive aspect of the League, but also on the people who are a part of it and the way that it brings communities together. From his easygoing manner in his interviews to his documentary narration-appropriate voice, he’s a fantastic choice for host.
Balagué takes the viewer through a month of traveling to games and visiting different football clubs. The audience gets to witness everything from the effects of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona’s team to the decision to move the final game from St. Petersburg to Paris in light of the situation in the Ukraine. Specific teams and players are highlighted, adding interviews and behind-the-scenes footage to the games themselves.
In fact, there’s relatively little actual football seen. It’s a smart decision as presumably, fans of the UEFA will have already seen the matches and those who aren’t fans wouldn’t care to see it. Instead, Balagué interviews everyone from Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp to Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donestsk owner Serhiy Palkin, giving a plethora of different views on the League and what it means.
Even if your only touch point for European football is watching Ted Lasso, Destination Paris is still an enjoyable watch. It’s nothing revolutionary, not does it fully delve into how the war in the Ukraine could have a more lasting effect on European unity. I wish it had spent more time focusing on the final game, especially because of the extreme circumstances that happened with the crowds outside the stadium. It felt like a somewhat rushed ending to the hour-and-a-half-long documentary.
Even as someone who doesn’t normally follow European football, I was moved by Balagué’s conclusion at the end of the documentary that the passion for the sport is largely about how people want to belong to something. In a time when so much of the world is at odds and conflicts abound, it’s heartwarming to see people come together through their love of a sport.
The release of the documentary lines up with the start of the 2022-2023 UEFA Champions League season, whose matches you can stream on Paramount+.
What did you think of the Paramount+ documentary Destination Paris (2022)? Comment below.