Starring: (the late) Natasha Richardson, Rachel Griffith, Alan Rickman, Josh Hartnett and Rachael Leigh Cook
“A hairdressing competition… in Keighley, Yorkshire”
As tag lines go, probably only sheer curiosity and the actors involved would incite you to watch this film, it’s certainly what pulled me in. But in reality, I recommend it based purely on its own merits. Admittedly, if you are not from a small Yorkshire town you may find some of the finer… nuances of Northern life and humour a little perplexing, but it still appeals to a wider audience.
The accents on the whole are quite reasonable (and if this seems an odd thing to point out, the film counts an Australian and an American amongst it’s actors as well as two with rather ‘traditionally’ regionally unbiased accents); Rachel Griffiths pulls off the most believable accent and was generally rather amazing, more so for being an Australian, however, Josh Hartnett’s borders on the horrific. Why use an American to play a small town Yorkshire lad? Had we suffered a sudden lack in that department? Hell, just an English lad would have made the accent more palatable. Incidentally, I have nothing against Mr Hartnett in general, indeed I think he plays the role well and it was worth casting him, it’s merely his accent that I have a problem with. Neither do I take particular umbrage with Americans in general I hasten to add before someone takes offence.
A solid cast dealing well with a more than faintly bizarre idea. With the added twist of Shelley (Richardson) being Rickman’s ex-wife who ran off with his model, Sandra (Griffiths) the night of a major competition and have been together since, even living in the same town as Rickman, and not talking to each other, which if you know small town Yorkshire is insanely hard to do, because often everyone knows everyone else… and has an opinion of everybody else and isn’t shy in airing that view.
Cue; major family feud, competition, hairdressing, betrayal, reunion, terminal illness and one of the most entertaining (non-pornographic or sex related in any way) scenes regarding sheep I’ve ever seen, possibly more so since it involves the actor who plays Argus Filch in the Harry Potter movies.
A fun film with a smattering of seriousness (when they do serious they really go for it, we’re talking big themes and thoughts). A film far better than its synopsis would probably lead you to believe, but then, with such a stellar cast it would be hard pushed to be too terrible a film even if the plot was truly horrific.
The only complaint, barring the accent issue already discussed, is that it could have had a slightly more strenuous plot, but overall I don’t class that as a particularly negative aspect, after all this really isn’t serious cinema, so why change a good thing.
7/10 for a surprisingly funny and refreshing watch and for not being anything like what I had expected.