Vivienne (Minnie Driver) is sensational as fiesty high school drama teacher. Determined to fire up her hormonal, apathetic teenage students, she sets about staging a rock musical based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Battling all the teenage distractions of love, lust and the local lido, Viv has a challenge on her hands.
Good Songs, Shame About The Script and Movie!
- Hunky Dory review by PV
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You rated this film: 2
There are some great songs in this film: ELO and Bowie songs, with which no-one can ever go wrong. Hoever, the songs are just about the only thing that is right in this movie. The story - what there is of it - is, frankly, boring, not to mention unrealistic. This all has the feel of a schools TV programme, a BBC2 drama, a sanitised 'Skins' - and should never have been a movie really because there's just not enough here for one. Acting is OK, but can't salvage the film from its silliness. It is SO unrealistic and here's how: 1) No teacher would swear like the main character (played by the always irritating Minnie Driver) - swearing, being abusive and slagging off other teachers to the kids would get an immmediate suspension, as would introducing kids to fags and booze! And as for havin a pupil get drunk and sleep at her house!; 2) No headmaster would say or do what this one does either; 3) No-one said 'That Sucks!' in 1976!; 4) No-one ate pizza and had 'pizza evenings' in 1976 either - that kind of thing was new in 1986!
I know where this film was filmed - Bishop Gore school in Swansea - and so really do not want to be too harsh. However, this state-funded movie (which was made with lottery cash and Welsh film agency money from taxpayers) is exactly the kind of vanity project that so many millions of taxpayers' pounds get squandered on. I just didn't care about the characters, ultimately, and was too busy scoffing at the sheer fantasy of what I was seeing in the behaviour of this magical mystery teacher than the wafer-thin story or what happened to the characters in it. If this is based on a true story, it must have been embellished mightily! I would like to know if the biographies at the end are true though or just made up - sadly, we are never told. And the clumsy racial/skinhead subplot storyline is clunky and unnecessary - as if this film thinks it has to add some social drama to make up for the chronic lack of anything else worthwhile in it........... All in all then, a cringe-worthy disappointment. Two stars: one for the acting; one for the superdooper songs............ But it is actually hilarious in a Grange Hill or Waterloo Road or Fame kind of way - of course the kids, man, will put on their show, no matter what adversity they face... Ahhh bless. Funny thing though: every single school concert I have ever seen (and unfortunately heard) has sounded like cats being strangled, such is the sheer awfulness of the musical talent on offer (especially the recorder section). Happily, this school seems to have note-perfect musicians and singers and a virtuose violinist. Must be all that pizza they were eating in 1976 in the fantasy land of South Wales portrayed here (which is nothing at all like the real thing in 1976, I can assure you).