A lyrically and emotionally intense coming of age tale. Touching on a teacher's struggle against the educational establishment in a search for the liberating musical self-expression of her students.
Although not perfect, 'Hunky Dory' offers much to admire. For example, the film's glorious finale almost took my breath away.
At various moments this endearing but sudsy movie, which spills all over the place, evokes "High School Musical," "Glee" and "Billy Elliot."
| Original Score: 3/5
Enthusiasm carries the day in this paint-by-numbers period tale, which is just charming enough to coast on its own clichés.
An appealing drama set in Wales in 1976 about a high school rock opera version of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Surprisingly, it's not bad.
There's at least one sub-plot too many, but audiences willing to suspend disbelief will be swept up as the greatest high school band in the history of music perform an impeccable selection of hits.
Heartfelt interpretations of Seventies rock are only part of the appeal of nostalgia-drenched high school drama.
The earnest playing of the orchestra and the lo-fi warbling touch the heart in a way that a more polished production might not.
If Hunky is hellishly clunky, it's also good-hearted and well-intentioned with some laughs and decent tunes.
The kids' final performance is a high note -- rousing and true; final proof that you don't need tidy resolutions to spin a lasting memory.
It's all very lovely and very sad. Cynics need not apply. Aging softies will almost certainly yield to Evans's warm sensibilities.
Driver, dialling down her movie star glamour and sporting a credible Welsh accent, is winningly down to earth.
The movie isn't bad. Driver is an attractive presence, and it isn't her fault that at times she appears unbearably smug and self-righteous.
Although the film loses focus for a while around two-thirds of the way in, it ends as a well-rounded study of youthful apathy, anger and ambition mixed in with a degree of sexual awakening appropriate for the time.
| Original Score: 4/5
The trials and tribulations are familiar and the resolution predictable, but the film has a sweetness and sincerity that's charming.
In some respects the picture tries too hard to be too many different things, and Driver's Viv feels underwritten, but the nostalgic, toe-tapping atmosphere and likeable characters carry the day.
Think a Welsh blend of Glee and School of Rock, with a great soundtrack and young cast led by the terrific Aneurin Barnard as talented but troubled student Davey.
In its goofy way, Hunky Dory is likable, and Robert Pugh is good as the gruff headmaster, drafted in to play Prospero.
Thank Heaven for biggish girls like star Minnie Driver. She at least, playing the show-directing teacher with spirit, wit and sass, gives Hunky Dory some funky-dory ebullience.