Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Sparkle

Reviews - Sparkle


Reviewed By John Stakes

Last Sunday's film 'Sparkle', the last of the current season, was made on a shoestring by the British writer/director team of Neil Hunter and Tim Hunsinger, the makers of 'Lawless Heart' which was generally rated as the best British film of 2001. Did their latest 2007 offering sparkle?

Yes - in a way. Superficially it has been labelled as a low budget Brit flick or rom- com, but laced with some nicely dry and witty dialogue (particularly from Anthony Head as the gay uncle of young romantic female lead Kate (Amanda Ryan), and some occasional beefed up meaty scenes, it almost managed to throw off its Richard Curtis 'Love Actually' mantel, and was all the more engaging for it.

Bob Hoskins played against type as an ageing loner who falls in love in the opening frame with the male lead's mother, a pub crooner with a heart of gold and pretensions to stardom. Hoskins skilfully managed against the odds to avoid mawkishness and brought genuine warmth to his character.
Shaun Evans as the Liverpudlian male lead was pitched somewhere between a young Paul Nicholas and Hugh the insistently youthful Grant, as he charmed his way into a rather sanitised version of London life (Douglas Isle of Man actually) and into the beds of both PR firm head Sheila (Stockard Channing) and, unwittingly, her daughter Kate at almost the same time.

The complications of the plot enabled the film to be played at a constantly unflagging pace, which hid many of the budget limitations (was it the same crowd at all the PR events?) and its TV spin off feel in the early scenes. The one hundred plus audience clearly enjoyed its feelgood effect and any disbelief was suitably suspended over the Richard Curtis-style climactic scene where love conquered all.

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