Well what a wonderful surprise. A cast of familiar British faces, the darker side of London streets and the director of ‘Turner & Hooch’ come together to create a family-friendly drama about friendship that is even more heart-warming and at times quite unbelievable when you know it’s all a true story.
Luke Treadaway is really likable as busker James, aiming to stop his drug habit that resorts in him busking for small change and living in a murky bedsit. He tries, all the time, to do better and the man can sing and play guitar. While this is a family friendly film and not ‘Trainspotting’, I think we get a good idea of the drug battle he’s facing without it being too harrowing or graphic.
We do focus a lot more on the struggles people living on the streets face, from prejudice, hunger and desperation. It’s sad to see, but again, it’s never too graphic but clearly speaks a message throughout. Joanna Froggatt (fresh from ‘Downton Abbey’ stardom) and the distractingly pretty Ruta Gedmintas flesh out the special ladies in his life who play a part in his recovery, though not all as obvious as you may expect.
A lot of charm may be lost on American audiences as this is a very British film with very British actors, settings and scenarios, but the bridge between all may just be Bob, the ginger cat who draws nothing but laughs, giggles and “awwws” from audiences. Bob, the ACTUAL Bob, is a joy. With a few shots from the cats point of view and close-ups on his face, director Spottiswoode helps create just enough of an idea to what Bob may be thinking or feeling to make it humorous without ever being silly.
The bond between Bob and James has to be seen to be believed. It’s wonderful, and very touching. Not once does it seem forced or exaggerated. As said before, it’s a true story, and one that shows a unique friendship between man and beast that deals with some touching subjects, but with a lot of heart and warmth.
Not always going as you may expect, which is good for keeping it a little fresh, there are plenty of highs and lows along the way without it being grim or silly - it plays out very real, with really good performances from all and a sweet, feel good story leading up to Christmas for the family.
We all need a Bob in our lives, that much is clear.