Film Review: A Street Cat Named Bob

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A Street Cat Named BobAmazon Synopsis: Roger Spottiswoode directs this feature film based on the true story that was adapted into the international bestselling autobiographical novel by James Bowen.

Luke Treadaway stars as James, a homeless man struggling with drug addiction and busking to get by on the streets of London. When James comes across an injured stray cat, he nurses him back to health and names him Bob.

They become inseparable and make for an unusual street music act. Bob’s companionship inspires James to overcome his drug addiction and share his story.

Film: A Street Cat Named Bob

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Date: 2016

A Street Cat Named Bob came to my attention when I was watching trailers on another DVD about a year ago. I was transfixed, and knew that I wanted to see it. I am so glad I did!

Some films touch a chord, and this was one for me. I found the whole thing beautiful, becoming absorbed in James’ world and rooting for him the entire time to overcome his demons. I was prepared to cry, but it instead left me with a big grin on my face. If people are prepared to take their second chance, anything is possible. Anything at all!

After only a few moments of the film, it had touched me deeply and I wanted to go out and help every homeless person that I could. They didn’t try to make it worse than it is (which is awful!) but they didn’t try to suggest that living out on the streets was a great big adventure. It felt, to me (who is naïve about what it really involves), that it presented the truth of the situation as best as it could.

Everybody needs a break. Everybody needs a second chance.

Throughout the entire way through, this element of truth remained. I believe this is because it is based on a true story rather than a film writer deciding to make it a big adventure. It shows that you don’t need gun fights, space-ships or car chases to make a film with a big impact – this was emotional, touching and the best film that I have watched this year.

There isn’t much to comment on in regards to the plot as it does follow a true story. It’s amazing to consider that the simple act of finding a stray cat could change someone’s life so much – second chances really are just around the corner as long as you are prepared to take them.

Luke Treadaway made a fantastic James. You see the changes in his whole demeanour from the opening when he is desperate, alone and without hope, to the middle when he is finally making some money and can eat a meal, to his final determination to overcome the drugs and become clean. Treadaway made James real for me, a real person rather than just a character, and the film would have flopped without that.

There were several other names in this film. Anthony Head was the torn father, trapped between his new life and his son. Joanne Froggatt was a kind yet firm social work attempting to help James. Caroline Goodall plays a small part, but I spent the entire film working out where I knew her from.

It’s worth repeating what I said earlier: this is the best film that I have seen this year. It moved me and made me want to make a difference, to help those in James’ situation. A film with an emotional impact has to be better than one full of violence and high-speed chases. I’m hoping to read the book now.

Whatever you do: watch this film!

Amazon | HMV

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