Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hunky Dory (Rhoades)

“Hunky Dory” Is
An Okay Musical

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Think of it like “Glee” set in a Welsh high school during the sweltering summer of 1976. Here, Viv (Minnie Driver) is an energetic drama teacher who decides to shake students out of their malaise by putting on a play. Not just any play, but a rock ‘n roll musical based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
This gives the students plenty of opportunity to entertain us with the upbeat music of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, 10CC, The Who, Beach Boys, and the Electric Light Orchestra.
The film -- “Hunky Dory” -- takes its name from one of Bowie’s albums. And like its name, everything’s okay here. It’s currently making music at the Tropic Cinema.
Lovable Minnie Driver handles her role well, a free-spirited teacher who clashes with her more staid colleagues, but engages beautifully with the students. Here are all the subplot clichés, from broken homes to gay students, but it’s the musical performances you’ve come to see. Talented young Aneurin Barnard, as troubled student Davey, is backed by a terrific cast of relatively unknown young actors.
Sure, you’ve seen it all before in “Dazed and Confused,” “High School Musical,” and “School of Rock. But who cares. Tap your feet. Dance in the aisle. Hum along with the young performers who did their own music live on set in front of the camera. It’s a feel-good movie.
If you expect more than that you’ll be disappointed.
Welsh-born Mark Howell (editor of Solares Hill) will enjoy the “orange and glowing” picture postcard of Swansea in the blistering summer of 1976. But for a few years difference, he could have been one of these rock-inspired students. And that would have been hunky dory with him.

No comments: