Treacle Jr. (2010)
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Critic Reviews for Treacle Jr.
This is low budget and it shows, but it's clear Thraves has still got something to say.
A charming, low-key Britflick, Treacle Jr boasts a great performance from Gillen, but Thraves' labour of love feels as directionless as its characters.
The film has its moments and Aidan Gillen is impressive as the Hibernian hanger-on from hell, but it's a slight affair.
Treacle Jr is a little British gem that blossoms into an endearing salute to friendship and the power of positive thinking.
Audience Reviews for Treacle Jr.
Improvised feeling, natural, moving and finally uplifting, Treacle Jr. reminded me a little of a British mumblecore (that sub-genre that threatened, though never quite managed, to take off towards the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011). Tom Fisher plays Tom, a married man with a child who for reasons unknown, ups and leaves without warning from his home in Birmingham with no possessions save the clothes he stands in, and makes for the streets of London (he later sort-of explains "I have a problem being around people... I just want to be on my own!", but it's never revealed *exactly* what the 'dealbreaker' was). Faced with living on the streets, he wanders parks until a possible threat from a teenage gang leads to him running straight into a tree, to a hospital to get treatment, where he meets Aidan in the waiting room. Initially irritating, Aidan speaks with a heavy speech impediment and is possibly developmentally challenged (though this is up for interpretation), and is also initially profoundly irritating. With nothing much to do, Tom allows Aidan to follow him around London and the two eventually bond over a kitten (the titular Treacle Jr.). During the later stages the story does indulge in a few too many coincidences and the ending is possibly a bit too sugary and predictable (though it feels deserved), but for the most part Treacle Jr. is an exceptionally fresh, original and invigorating piece of cinema, shot on a tiny budget with a minimal crew, mostly on the fly and in sequential order. The performances of Aidan Gillen and Tom Fisher are truly wonderful (Gillen plays an initially annoying character but by the end you'll be in love with him, I guarantee it), and Riann Steele is also excellent as Aidan's unlikely girlfriend (her manipulation over him is just one of the many interesting shades of grey that ground the film). A gem.
No one does slice-of-life drama and acerbic humor like the Brits, and the curiously named "Treacle Jr." showcases this, as well as some damned good acting from the cast, particularly Aidan Gillen ("Queer As Folk," "Game Of Thrones,") as Aidan (it seems kind of cheap when the screenwriters can't come up with their own names, anyone agree?"
Treacle Jr., as it so happens, is a kitten, Aidan is a childlike man in an unhealthy relationship, and Tom (Tom Fisher) steps quite by accident into the situation, in the process of getting out of another.
Unable to bear for another minute the responsibilities of parenthood and Family life, Tom (Fisher) walks out on his wife and baby and, after running out of cash, seeks new means of livelihood on the streets of London.
Inexplicably, he is attacked and injured by a gang of thugs, and while at the police station, he meets Aidan, who is comparing the woman at the front desk's hair to an Irish Setter's in an attempt at flirtation.
Aidan's the kind of guy most people stay away from. He's earnest, hyper, and completely free of any social graces. Aidan's naive and enthusiastic to a fault, but Tom soon discovers he has problems too- namely Linda (Riann Steele,) his 'girlfriend,' a volatile bag of nuts who beats on Aidan, dubs him a 'retard,' and in one painful scene, tries to rape him. She's a barrel of laughs.
People who find this situation unlikely need only think again. What does society think of men who hit women? If Aidan were to so much as take a swing at Linda in self-defense, she'd need only pull a pouty face to the police and Aidan would be sent up to the big house. Maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's something to think about.
The story chronicles the meeting and eventual friendship between the two men, despite Tom's initial urgent attempts to get away from Aidan, who has the boundless enthusiasm of a horny beagle. Now Aidan, he's an interesting character. Devoid of the marketability of endearing innocents like Forrest Gump, he is good-hearted but entirely oblivious to his effect on people. He was not written to be liked. I liked him.
If this was to be remade in America, there would be some adjustments mad. Linda's race would be changed (she is African-American,) because a cruel black person is against the politically correct agenda we are spoonfed nowadays. The gender roles would be switched, and the movie would become a feminist power flick. But it will not be remade becuase it was not highly successful, and a good thing, too. "Treacle Jr." intrigues and challenges, doing what British films do the best.
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