An amiable romp, but please, Miss, can we have a new scriptwriter
Hunky Dory (15)
Verdict: If only it were
We don't see enough of Minnie Driver these days, but she delivers a typically warm, committed performance as a kindly if undisciplined Welsh schoolmistress putting on a rock opera version of The Tempest in 1976.
The baddies trying to stop her include a grouchy teacher (Haydn Gwynne), who is a less entertaining version of the sports mistress in Glee.
I kept wishing the talented Ms Gwynne had some pithy one-liners to make her character come truly alive, and challenge the leading character.
This is an amiable romp.
Class act: Minnie Driver saves the movie
as kindly, undisciplined Welsh schoolmistress Vivienne
Welsh director Marc Evans obviously had fun returning to his roots, and he shows an endearing affection for teenagers and their problems.
But writer Laurence Coriat fails to come up with any fresh ideas for developing characters or storylines, and the film never has enough sense of pace or direction.
Too much of it resembles a dumbed-down History Boys.
It’s also wildly implausible.
Even though the school is meant to be a bog-standard comprehensive, not an academy for the performing arts, the talented, good- looking cast led by Aneurin Barnard and Danielle Branch, and the witty orchestrations clearly come from a more sophisticated world.
The oft-repeated message is that the education of teenagers should be more about self-expression.
That may have been true in the Seventies, but a cursory reading of internet message boards 40 years later suggests that self-expression without knowledge, judgment or even basic literacy is a curse rather than a blessing.
The academic emphasis on gathering relevant knowledge, refining judgments and constructing reasoned arguments before you express yourself fell out of fashion in the Seventies, and I have respect for teachers today who are trying to reverse that disastrous trend.
But I shouldn’t imagine anyone’s ever likely to make a feelgood musical out of them.