Hunky Dory (2011)


I do love it when a movie I’ve never heard of, and know very little about, catches me completely by surprise. Hunky Dory is one such film. The story sounded average, maybe also slightly odd, and the only cast member I’d heard of was Minnie Driver, who I loved in Good Will Hunting. The rest were complete unknowns to me. I think I’d seen some of them in bit parts in other films but I had no idea who they were. It didn’t bode well, but despite all this I thought I’d give it a whirl. Best decision moviewise I’d made for ages, as I absolutely loved every minute of this low budget gem.

Set in a South Wales school during the boiling hot summer of 1976, drama teacher Vivienne Mae, a bit of a free spirited type played nicely by Minnie Driver, fights sweltering heat and general teenage apathy to put on an end-of-term version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but set to the music of David Bowie, E.L.O and various other 70s artists. An odd idea but it works really well.

Minnie Driver as free spirited Vivienne Mae

The original recordings of the songs are only used in a couple of instances as background music in certain scenes. The rest of the time the songs are actually performed by the cast and they do a pretty damn good job of them. I personally loved the renditions of Life On Mars, a Bowie classic, also E.L.O standards, Strange Magic and Livin’ Thing all of which are done beautifully by the young cast.

If you enjoyed Billy Elliott, The Full Monty and Brassed Off then I implore you to give this smashing little film a go. You will almost certainly fall under it’s spell as I did, and i’d be very surprised if you didn’t come away from it with a great big smile on your face.

To round off we have great performances all round plus a cracking soundtrack which, straight after watching the film, I grabbed on Amazon.



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I am passionate about movies and cinema generally. I love talking about them and writing about them.

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