The words Britain’s Got Talent give me the same sense of dread I ordinarily reserve for the dentist and when I receive my phone bill. Walking into the Opening Night Gala of the British Film Festival on Friday night, I had a similar sinking feeling. Imagine my delight (and surprise) when there was free champagne and a delightful, inspirational film.
One Chance is the remarkable and stirring true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night. We follow Potts on his journey from passing out in choir practice, to Venice and being rejected by Pavarotti, to ultimately wrapping Simon Cowell around his little finger on the first season of the now internationally acclaimed talent show.
The story is helped along by a plethora of faces familiar to any fan of British cinema, and by a soundtrack which is both opulent and classically beautiful. Tony Award- winner James Corden is sensational in the starring role and he is supported by acclaimed actress Julie Walters. She portrays Paul’s doting and dutiful mother. Mackenzie Crook of Pirates of the Caribbean fame makes an appearance as Paul’s best friend and boss; Colm Meaney plays his grungy, bitter father; and rising star Alexandra Roach, (who played a young Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd’s 2011 film, The Iron Lady) is sensational as Paul’s long-time partner, Julie-Ann Cooper.
While the story is familiar, both because it is a true story and because it has very noticeable elements of other classic British films such as Billy Elliott and The Full Monty to name but two, it still has a sense of whimsy, drama and just a that little extra spark which means you just can’t look away.
Director David Frankel, of Entourage, The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me brings his typical comic stylings to an emotionally-charged story. Those who want a happy ending will not be disappointed and those looking for a light-hearted film with sensational cinematographyand giggles-a-plenty will find One Chance a rewarding way to spend an hour and a half of their time.
Be sure to check out the British Film Festival for many more new fabulous films, as well as a few classics of the silver screen.
Reviewed by Jenna Woods
Rating out of 10: 6.5