13 March 2013


Sparkle 2007
  • Directors: Tom Hunsinger, Neil Hunter
  • Based on Book: no
  • Cast: Stockard Channing, Shaun Evans, Anthony Head, Bob Hoskins, Lesley Manville, Amanda Ryan, John Shrapnel
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Stockard Channing – Out of Practice, Edie and Penn, Six Degrees of Separation, Smoke, Practical Magic, Grease…
    • Shaun Evans – Boy A, Being Julia
    • Anthony Head – Merlin, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Sweeney Todd, Little Britain, NYPD Blue
    • Bob Hoskins – Paris, je t’aime, Stay, Mrs. Henderson Presents, David Copperfield, Felicia’s Journey, Othello, Rock Follies, Mermaids
    • Lesley Manville – Cranford, Vera Drake, Rose and Maloney, David Copperfield
    • Amanda Ryan – Elizabeth, The Inspector Lynley Series, David Copperfield
    • John Shrapnel – Merlin, Elizabeth – the Golden Age, The Inspector Lynley Series, Notting Hill, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida, Timon of Athens
  • Why bought: Stockard Channing, cheap.
  • Seen: once – September 22, 2012

This is the kind of film that wins festivals but doesn’t reach a large audience.  It’s not even in Maltin (shame on him.) It’s the kind that’s described as a gem.
Rightly so.  It starts out confusing though and my first reaction was “Who are all these people and why are they running around all over the place?” But they do sort themselves out and I gradually realized that there was a tangled pattern of love relationships emerging.  And that’s what the film is about – how complicated and painful love can be and usually is. From a silly not-so-funny comedy it grew into a rather funny and bittersweet…gem.  Young love, old love, young-old love, new-old love – what tangled webs we people weave for ourselves.
As is often the case in this kind of movie, it would flop without superb acting.  I bought this film because Stockard Channing is in it and she lives up to my high expectations in her role as a high power bitch whose heart is breaking.  Bob Hoskins is better than ever as a befuddled moron who has unsuspected depth. Leslie Manville (one of those actresses of whom one says, “Oh her!  Where have we seen her??! – see above) carries quite a lot of the movie with her middle-aged struggle to make it as a singer.  The youngsters Shaun Evans and Amanda Ryan are least interesting actually – not a lot of depth to his character, a little more to hers – but the two do what they can with the roles and we can’t help but hope that they get each other in the end.
Romantic comedies have to be spot on to avoid being obnoxious.  This one succeeds very nicely.  4 * of 5.

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