80 for Brady: Is the Movie Rooted in a True Story?

Image Credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures

’80 for Brady’ is a sports comedy film directed by Kyle Marvin, starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field in the lead roles. The plot follows four elderly women who are die-hard fans of the New England Patriots and the team’s star player, Tom Brady. Therefore, they embark on an adventure to watch their favorite football star playing in Super Bowl LI in Houston.

However, the group faces several challenges along the way, and their friendship is also tested. Given the four women’s passion and dedication, viewers must wonder if actual events inspire the film. If you are looking for details about the inspiration behind ’80 for Brady,’ here is everything you need to know!

80 for Brady: Loosely Based on Real Events

’80 for Brady’ is partially based on a true story. It is written by Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern, who are known for co-writing the 2019 coming-of-age comedy film ‘Booksmart‘ directed by Olivia Wilde. The Kyle Marvin directorial’s title refers to American Football player Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr, better known as “Tom Brady,” who played in the National Football League for 23 seasons. He played for the New England Patriots, winning six of his seven Super Bowl Championships with the team. Although, Brady is not the focus of the film’s story and only plays a minor supporting part in it.

The film is loosely inspired by the lives of five Massachusetts women in their 80s and explores their die-hard passion for Brady and the New England Patriots. The group dubbed themselves the “Over 80 for Brady” fan club and comprised Betty Pensavalle, Elaine St. Martin, Claire Boardman, and their friends Pat and Anita. After the passing of their husbands, the women forged a friendship through their passion for football and their habit of frequently watching the Patriots’ games on TV, living in a Massachusetts town.

Pensavalle’s grandson, Max Gross, reportedly pitched the idea to convert the Over 80 for Brady fan club’s story into a feature film. Eventually, Haskins and Halpern wrote the screenplay based on the lives of the five women while Kyle Marvin served as the director. However, the film is not a direct adaptation of actual events. The Over 80 for Brady fan club’s story only serves as the foundation for the movie’s premise. Furthermore, the film’s plot is primarily fictional and heavily deviates from reality.

Firstly, the film’s iteration of the women who are Brady fans is only remotely reminiscent of the real ladies, with the characters’ names being changed. Moreover, the group only consists of four friends instead of five. Although, it is possible that the makers amalgamated Pat and Anita into a single character for creative reasons. The film follows Lou, Trish, Maura, and Betty as they embark on a quest to watch their favorite player in Super Bowl LI. But in reality, the Over 80 for Brady did not make it to the sporting event held in 2017.

Over 80 for Brady Fan Club//Image Credit: CBS Sunday Morning/YouTube

Similarly, other incidents in the film, such as the women competing in a hot wing eating contest and posing as backup dancers for the Super Bowl’s halftime show, are not anecdotes pulled from the lives of the actual five women. Instead, the writers concocted fictional events to advance the storyline. In reality, the Massachusetts residents did not meet Tom Brady as the film depicts.

At present, Betty Pensavalle (94) and Elaine St. Martin (95) are active members of the fan club, with Claire Boardman having passed away and Pat and Anita in an assisted living facility. Nevertheless, the film draws some semblance of realism by recreating the events of Super Bowl LI with Brady’s former teammates, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and Julian Edelman, making cameo appearances.

All things said, ’80 for Brady’ is mainly a fictional story that draws loose inspiration from the experiences of Betty Pensavalle, Elaine St. Martin, Claire Boardman, Pat, and Anita. The film takes several liberties while telling the story of a group of elderly women who share the same passion for the Patriots. Nonetheless, it pays an ode to their friendship and is rooted in its characters’ emotional attachment to their favorite football player. Hence, the narrative is relatable for the viewers and leaves an impression of realism.

Read More: Where Was 80 for Brady Filmed?