Director: David Frankel
Screenwriter: Justin Zackham
Runtime: 103 mins.
Australian release date: 28 November 2013
It can be a guilty pleasure sitting through a ‘feel good’ movie and David Frankel’s One Chance is as guilty as it gets. Paul Potts (James Corden - who was hilarious in the stage production of One Man, Two Guvnors) was the 2007 winner of the hugely popular TV show Britain’s Got Talent, when he blew everyone away with his rendition of Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’. The interesting thing is he was a man from a steel mill town in Wales (a bit of artistic license, as he was actually from Bristol!) who developed a love for opera from a very early age. His sole ambition was to go to an opera school in Venice where one of the principal mentors was Pavarotti, no less.
Before he sets off to follow his dream, he meets a young woman affectionately known as ‘Julz’ (Alexandra Roach), with whom he develops a lasting relationship. The other significant people in his life are his supportive mother, Yvonne (Julie Walters), his non-supportive father Roland (Colm Meaney), his boss at the mobile phone shop, Braddon (Mackenzie Crook) and Braddon’s fabulous punk girlfriend Hydrangea (Jemima Rooper - who also worked alongside Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors). Potts was constantly bullied at school and being fat, lacking confidence and having a mouth full of crooked teeth only added to his predicament. However, there is no doubt that he is a gifted soul and in a particularly uneasy scene, as an adult, Potts is ridiculed by the locals at a pub talent competition, until he opens his mouth and starts singing. Potts’s road to stardom was delayed by health issues and the odd accident which left him in a depressed state. The unconditional love of his partner and the desire to sing saved him from a life of misery.
In the vein of Brit films like The Full Monty and Billy Elliot, this version of the underdog making a go of it and ultimately achieving success is a winner on a number of levels. Corden and Roach deliver sweet, very watchable performances, which are ably supported by the other members of the cast. Florian Ballhaus’s cinematography also encapsulates the feel of the story and beautifully portrays the Venetian scenes. It really doesn’t matter that some of the facts border on fiction. Original footage is used when Simon Cowell (part of the triumvirate of Britain’s Got Talent judges) judges Potts’s winning performance while featuring Corden on screen lip-synching perfectly. Check the original out on You-Tube and see for yourself. If you are looking for a good time at the movies over the festive season then go and see One Chance. You won’t be disappointed for it is very heart-warming to see a man referred to as “a lump of coal” develop in to a diamond.