A Street Cat Named Bob full movie review - A Street Cat Named Bob
I knew about the international bestselling biographical book (and its follow-ups), so I was really excited to know that it was being turned into a film, and even more so that it starred the real cat, directed by Roger Spottiswoode (Turner & Hooch, Tomorrow Never Dies, The 6th Day).
Based on the true story, in London, James Bowen (Luke Treadaway) is a recovering heroine addict, and being homeless makes some money busking with his own songs on his guitar. Running out of luck, he is given a last chance resort by support worker Val (Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt), who helps him to finally have his own flat to live in. As he tries to build his life and his future, James in unable to attract much attention from passers-by as he busks in Covent Garden, and the area he lives in surrounded by the temptation of drug dealers and users on the street. One night James is taking a bath, he hears a break-in and noises in the kitchen, he finds it is a ginger cat (Bob, as himself, with some stunt cats) eating his corn flakes, he allows the cat to stay the night. Thinking the cat belongs to a neighbour, James goes through the neighbourhood to find its owner, but he has no luck and concludes it is a stray, and the cat continues to linger and follow him over the next few days. One day the cat is injured, James takes him to a charity vet, sacrificing his food money for its treatment and medicine, neighbour Belle (Ruta Gedmintas), who makes a living looking after animals, and trains as a psychic, thinks the cat was destined to come to James, and tells him the cat can be given the name Bob (this name actually was inspired by the character in Twin Peaks). James goes out one to busk, taking the bus, Bob follows him on the bus, once on the street James allows Bob to rest on his shoulders as he walks, many passers-by are endeared to see a cute animal with him, many people are drawn to watch James sing with his guitar, while Bob sits with him, James is delighted with the amount of money he makes and that people actually want to listen to him, and his adorable cat. James has become smitten with Bob, taking him as his true friend and pet, there are times however when his caring for the cat gets in the ways of some responsibilities, such as attending methadone programme meetings with Val, and James is in moments close to giving into the temptation of drug taking, until a fellow homeless person dies of an overdose. There is one day when James is performing with Bob, someone wishes to buy the cat, saying it would have a better home, James is angered, Bob runs away as the arguing occurs, James is heartbroken at losing his friends, but some time later Bob does return home, James is relieved and happy. James wanted to see his father Nigel (Anthony Head) and his family around Christmas, but he was not permitted, so James tries to reconnect on New Year, but Bob being there causes chaos as James is turned away again. James makes the commitment to stop taking methadone, Val warns him of the challenges he will face over the next few weeks, such as constant fidgeting, inner pains and other effects, but James goes ahead, staying in his flat and going through this suffering, with Bob by his side, until eventually James feels refreshed and finally clean. James had been getting closer to Belle over Christmas, she was angered finding out about his drug past, but they reconcile, James is happy that she has found the strength to move on and find a new place, without bad memories, and returning to his father he is happy to reconcile with his father. James had been watched by many types of people, including those that capture his performances on video and post them to YouTube, he becomes a sensation, and a journalist wishes to make his story with Bob into a book, James is amazed by this attention and newfound fame. James Bowen concluded that it was Bob the cat who saved his life, his book became a best-seller, and he went on to write many other follow-up books, meaning no more busking, and Bob remains his best friend. Also starring Hook's Caroline Goodall as Mary, Lorraine Ashbourne as Simone, Darren Evans as Baz, Beth Goddard as Hilary, Ruth Sheen as Elsie and EastEnders' Nina Wadia as Padma the bus conductress. Treadaway is suitably cast as the vulnerable man wanting to change his life for the better, and the supporting cast members do well in their parts, but this film absolutely belongs to Bob the cat, the four-legged feline steals the show, he is adorable, it was a stroke of genius to get the real animal of the true story. The subjects of drug-addiction recovery and homelessness are covered with a good level of detail and realism, not becoming preachy or overly harsh, and the subplots with the romantic element and the struggling father-son relationship work well, but overall I felt happy and overtaken by the "ahh" factor, the slogan of the film is "sometimes it takes 9 lives to save 1" really is true, I would highly recommend this to everyone, especially those who love cute animals, and cats, a brilliantly enjoyable family comedy drama. Very good!