Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head
Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. (Source: IMDb)
2016 has undoubtedly been one of the worst years, both in the real world, and also a fairly lacklustre year in the movie world (although it’s picking up as we head into awards season now), so an unashamedly feel-good story with a healthy dose of cute is exactly what we all need right now!
Enter Bob, an adorable ginger cat with a penchant for knitted scarves, and the incredible true story of how he saved homeless drug addict James Bowen (played in the film by Luke Treadaway), from the brink of self-destruction. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, this lovely story will undoubtedly warm the cockles of your cold, cynical heart!
Whilst the adorable Bob (who stars as himself!) is unquestionably the star of the show, Luke Treadaway does a great job as James, and their relationship is utterly believable from start to finish. Treadaway completely embodies the character, and it’s not the easiest of roles either, but his charm and vulnerability make it very easy to sympathise with his situation, which is key to making this work. The old saying about never working with kids or animals is immediately thrown out the window for this film, as Bob is absolutely delightful, so well trained, and incredibly expressive. Seriously, this might just be the best cat acting you’ll see!
Whilst this film is undoubtedly warm and uplifting, it doesn’t shy away from the harsh truths as well, and it’ll likely make you question yourself and all the times you’ve walked past someone homeless without giving them a second glance. It is a 12a for a good reason, and the stuff surrounding James and his journey to finally getting clean is pretty hard-hitting, and a difficult watch at times. It’s pretty emotional as well, and there’s a particular scene towards the end involving James and his Father (played excellently by a severely underused Anthony Head) that really tugs on the heartstrings.
The soundtrack is also the quiet star of this film, and the original songs performed by Treadaway are utilised well without coming across as too cheesy. The songs could stand on their own as a pretty decent collection of songs, without the movie to support them, which is testament to how good they are.
A film this lovely is really difficult to be critical about, because who can say no to an adorable true story about an incredibly cute ginger cat, saving someone’s life!
It’s key to the story that the central relationship between James and Bob is given the most focus, but this did have a slightly negative impact on the supporting characters. Everyone did a good a job as they needed to, but none of the supporting cast were particularly stand out, but as it’s not really an ensemble story, this can easily be forgotten. Anthony Head however was great in his small role, but he was underused.
I saw this movie and you should too. A Street Cat Named Bob is the film we all need right now, and a wonderful pick-me-up to cap off what has been a horrendous year! It’s not going to win awards, but it doesn’t need to; it’s delightful, funny, sad, heart-warming and adorable, and this is more than enough sometimes! The story is told honestly, and sympathetically, with two stand-out performances carrying the whole thing well. It’s a perfect Christmas movie as well (yes, it can count as such!), and proves maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!