Hunky Dory

Many folks in the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival audience likened this one to "Glee" which they have seen on television. As a "Glee" virgin, I can't say one way or the other, but this entry from the UK was interesting, involving and sported a few youngsters I'd like to see again. In addition it's directed by Marc Evans ("Snowcake" and "Patagonia"), and he's always someone to watch.

We are in 1976 Wales. The UK is in a decline, the Falklands are still in the future, and some high school students are in a funk. An enthusiastic young teacher is inspired to adapt current popular music (David Bowie and The Beach Boys) into an accompaniment for Shakespeare's "The Tempest," using school talent. Many of the students are low income and some of the teachers see that as a sure bet for failure.

Be sure to suspend disbelief before you see:
  • Minnie Driver ("Conviction") as a fairly non-traditional teacher. She runs a loose ship, but the students seem to learn, although some of us cringed when she shared a cigarette with one of her kids. Remember, it IS 1976 before smoking got such a bad name!
  • Aneurin Barnard ("Citadel") had me asking, "Who IS this guy?" Handsome, capable and talented (he sings), I can promise you, we will see more of this one! Oh yeah, he's one of the students and he plays the irresistible Ferdinand.
  • Robert Pugh ("Robin Hood") is the school principal, enlisted by our teacher to take on the role of Prospero.
  • Haydn Gwynne (Lots of TV) is the teacher we love to hate. She is venomously class conscious, teaches by the book, and hasn't a warm drop of blood in her veins. She brings out the worst in our heroine, AND her students.
  • Tomos Harries in his first role, is a tousle-haired blonde, cast as Ariel. His character has a sweet arc as a lad not quite sure of his sexuality.
  • Darren Evans ("Submarine") is the angry misfit student cast as the angry misfit Caliban. He is suspected of arson.
Driver is Great Britain's answer to Meryl Streep when it comes to accents. I've heard her speak like a native from Ireland, "Bahston," Appalachia, Detroit, and now Wales. There are many more, but I haven't the space.

To my great delight, at the end they provide "the rest of the story" much as they did in "American Graffiti," with history and a touch of humor.
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Here is a link to a preview:
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