Film: Hunky Dory (15)

Dir: Marc Evans

Stars: Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard, Tomos Harries & Darren Evans

When I saw the trailer for Hunky Dory I was concerned that it would turn out to be a Welsh version of Glee. Thankfully, whilst there are similarities with the American series, Hunky Dory is a very British film. A young and very talented cast combine drama and music to portray a small slice of life in Swansea during the searing summer of ‘76.

Vivienne (Driver), an idealistic teacher returns to Swansea determined to show the other teachers that working-class students have a lot going for them if they are only given the opportunity to express themselves. She decides to stage The Tempest as the end of year school play with Davey (Barnard), Ewan (Harries) and Kenny (Evans) taking the leading roles. Hunky Dory follows the progression of the play as the main characters face the trials and tribulations of growing up in 1970s Britain.

There are many niggles with Hunky Dory which will prevent it being lauded as a fine piece of British Cinema. Whilst it may cover many social issues of the day and reflect the changing times, it never really does more than merely scratch the surface.Hunky Dory is not a deep and meaningful film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is rather a lovely little feel-good movie.

What the film does do superbly is mix fantastic performances of many great songs from the era into the staging of the play. The thought of students performing versions of songs by Bowie and Nick Drake could strike fear into even the most optimistic person, however, not only do they pull it off, they manage to create some of the better cover versions you’re likely to hear. The young cast is a hotbed of talent and I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from many of them. Barnard particularly stands out as one to watch. Hunky Dory is also littered with gorgeous visuals, capturing the hottest summer on record beautifully

I would love to see their full production of The Tempest, which is a strong testimony to the abilities of the young cast.

Screening now at the Showroom Cinema