Monday, 11 May 2009

The Boat that Rocked

In 1975 I moved from Manchester, where I had been studying at university, to Aberdeen and working life.

I naively, but perhaps predictably, panicked at the thought of trading safe certitude for fearsome uncertainty and expressed this to my girlfriend in the pathetic lament “ but there might not even be a sauna”.

I had never in my life been in, or shown any interest towards, saunas.

I’ve moved a lot since then, fallen in love with saunas and even read Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway and most of the time I can handle change without throwing too many toys out of my pram.

Even so, when I left London to live in deep French rural isolation there were two worries upmost in my mind.

1. Would there be any young children for my newly born son to grow up with…….(there were hundreds).

2. How much would I miss the cinema……….(there had been hundreds).

Luckily, 8 km from the field where I live there is a tiny cinema, perfect in both it’s welcome and programming and on Friday I went to see The Boat that Rocked (which here in France is re-titled Good Morning England).

As you may or may not know this is a film directed by Richard Curtis and loosely based on events in Britain during the late sixties when Pirate Radio stations were broadcasting pop and rock from boats offshore.

Don’t expect it to be documentarily perfect, it isn’t, it's a light comedy and a great celebration of the music and the time when things changed.

Reviews have been mixed and the Guardian Newspaper was particularly severe, saying among other things - “there’s plenty in The Boat that Rocked to make you vomit”.

I wasn’t sick and nor were the people giggling in other parts of the cinema.

The newspaper also complained of “paper thin characters” whereas we saw heartfelt performances and two scenes stand out, each one stolen by a minor character – Harold.

In the first the distraught Carl is silently comforted with tea and biscuits after his newly met girlfriend sleeps with another - it’s a comic gem - and in the second Harold watches on, sometimes not even in focus, as Simon expresses his grief at being abandoned by his bride of 17 hours.

Music is a big part of this film and the soundtrack is peppered with great hits and great singers, some of the studio equipment is vintage Radio Caroline, the costumes exuberant sixties colour.

Ok, so be critical, what was wrong? Emma Thompson's cameo was a little wasted, the finale owed a bit too much to Titanic and the out-takes during the end credits added little. But it's not meant to be a great film, just fun.

Read the Guardian article to get a venomous opinion then ignore it and go and HAVE fun.

I went twice.


carol said...

I loved it. laughed out loud. thought it was very very funny. loved All the characters. Maybe it's for people like us, outsiders from England.....

popps said...

Surely it can't only be for the outsiders, maybe it's for people who lived through that time in some way, there is a strong feeling of nostalgia in the film?