November 6, 2014
When I read that "One Chance" was going to be the life story of "Britain's Got Talent" winner Paul Potts. I knew I wanted to see it for sheer pop culture curiosity. However, I was not sure it was going to be any good. This is especially since I had heard nothing about this film at all until I saw that it was going to be shown in movie theaters this week.
We follow the life of Paul, a bullied overweight loner since childhood whose only dream in life was to sing opera. But growing up in a small town in Wales where the main industry was steel works, he did not get much support, except from his loyal mother.
In the course of this film, we see him meet a wonderful woman by text whom he eventually marries. At the same time, we also see him repeatedly choke in singing and totally lose confidence about his abilities. Of course, we know this story will culminate in his memorable audition on Britain's Got Talent" that would enrapture Simon Cowell, the other judges and the rest of the world.
Honestly I was expecting this film to be mundane predictable biopic following the unexpected rise of a loser to becoming a winner and star. However, surprise, surprise. This turned out to be one very delightful and entertaining inspirational film which would appeal to most audiences, not only Paul Potts fans. The cast was so endearing and winsome, they simply drew us into the film and made us care for the story and characters, familiar as they were.
I have not really known of either of the lead actors before watching this film, but the film's success was because of their charisma. James Corden got the child-like innocence and charming dorkishness of Paul down pat. We can't help but identify with his struggles, groan at his bad decisions and root for him to go for his dream. I am now a fan of Alexandra Roach, who gave an utterly amazing heart-tugging performance of Paul's compassionate wife, Julz. Her hypnotizing big eyes radiates goodness and kindness. The two of them have such rich, sweet and believable chemistry between them.
Julie Walters is such a chameleon in her roles. As Paul's ever-supportive yet oddball mother Yvonne, she is so natural and effortless. Colm Meaney is just right to play Paul's gruff and skeptical father Roland. Mackenzie Crook plays Paul's offbeat boss Braddon. While the character seems too batty to be a real person, he provides the comic relief to lighten up the mood. The British sense of humor in this film is just so quirky and fun, with a lot of naughty or cheesy one-liners.
The first thirty minutes were positively glorious. My smile would not leave my face as the unfolding story made me feel very happy. The script was so witty and funny even as there were not so good things happening. The energy tended to bog in the middle third with the series of misfortunes which befell Paul. But that was necessary in order to make the triumphant third act more exciting and moving. That uplifting climax still worked even if we already knew it. A minor disappointment is that I did not see the real Paul Potts in it.
This film directed by David Frankel (who also directed "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Marley & Me") is recommended not only for people who love to sing, but for all who trying to reach a seemingly impossible dream. 7/10