Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria)
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Quirky British comedies have a habit of taking off in the United States as Withnail & I (1987) and the later Calendar Girls (2003) were huge successes but few films achieved the recognition that this 1997 comedy/drama did. The popularity of the film is largely driven by it's slightly saucy concept and it's ability to balance light comedy with heavy drama concerning the personal lives of it's working class characters. While I don't think the film is one of the best of 1997, I would have preferred to have seen The Sweet Hereafter (1997), The Ice Storm (1997) or In the Company of Men (1997) be nominated for Best Picture but the Academy have certainly made worse decisions.
Working class liverpudlian Gaz, Robert Carlyle, struggles to raise his son properly as jobs are hard to find and his ex-wife Mandy, Emily Woof, wants to have sole custody over him if Gaz cannot pay child support. In order to do this he and his former workmates, the overweight Dave Horsefall, Mark Addy, and the uptight Gerald Arthur Cooper, Tom Wilkinson, unite to form a male stripping group with the help of some new recruits. The group bonds as they train for an upcoming performance while they manage to overcome the problems they face in their personal lives. In the end the men manage to drum up enough publicity for their show that it is highly attended and they are a roaring success as they successfully perform a racy routine.
The charm in the film comes from it's colorful characters who have uniquely British senses of humor and are played with zeal by the talented cast of actors asked to inhabit the various different roles. Of particular note is Wilkinson who brings real dramatic heft to the scenes in which he stresses over the potential foreclosure of his house and his confrontation with his wife which ends sadly as well as being hilariously funny in the more comedic scenes. Carlyle is plucky enough to make us love our main character despite how dislikable he is at many points in the film and his close relationship with his son is enough to make us care for him. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy writes the characters as men with real human concerns and the subplot about one of the characters suffering from body image issues will genuinely affect most audience members. The film is reminiscent of Trainspotting (1996) in how it blends humor and serious drama but it's writing differentiates it enough for it to feel comforting if not original.
Fortunately the film is also aware of the fact that it's concept is fairly thin and dragging it on for too long would just be tiresome so it wisely caps itself off at around 90 minutes. The pacing of the film is also excellent as we are thrown into the basic concept fairly quickly and there is none of that awful standing around and pondering whether or not going ahead with the concept would be the right idea, an annoyance that extends the run time of most comedies. What follows is largely humorous montages of the men coming out of their shells as they learn how to perform and them trying to hide their actions from those closest to them, all reliably entertaining if cliché fare. The third act of the film is then a triumph as we see all of the various arcs for the characters come to a close with positive outcomes and a final dance number that brings the laughs while also making us appreciate what these men have gone through to financially support themselves.
At the end of the day this is a heartwarming little movie about the sort of working class Britons that kitchen sink realism tried to tell you had no comedy in their lives. It certainly doesn't reinvent the wheel and there are probably other films that do this style of humor better but as far as I am concerned this will appeal to the crowd who currently enjoy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011). Not one of the greatest films of 1997 but definitely better than Titanic (1997) and quite the enjoyable diversion while you are watching it.
I didn't expect a film with such a premise to be so touching like that! I came only for laughs. But with just a hint of melancholy, this brilliant film managed to find laughs and pathos in equal measure. I also didn't expect it to be such a feel-good film either. But thanks to Peter Cattaneo's effortlessly nuanced direction, Simon Beaufoy's exquisite script, the charismatic and charming cast, and the killer soundtrack that's most likely to be one of the best I've ever heard in a comedy, The Full Monty is a very breezy watch. Its honest and decent exploration of masculinity is also a something we don't see in films anymore. I just wish if its humor was more witty and intelligent. I also think there are some unconvincing character decisive decisions that made only to serve the plot. Still, this is a crowd-pleasing film that has a touching honesty and heartfelt emotion underneath its once-shocking and daring concept.
Shake And Groove Off Beat.
The Full Monty
Cattaneo's film is a big box of chocolates- not to steal any quotes- surprising and delightful the experience is, the humor part of it is just a cherry on top of all the razzle dazzle it sweats for. Drawing on the laughs with physical comedy, body shaming jokes and blatantly stealing and stripping, the film distracts you with equal sincerity on the appealing aspects of the script. This group of broken guys at the brisk of declaring bankruptcy in their professional and personal life, all comes in with a specific characteristic. A stereotypical format of such genre, but the content in here is not to be taken lightly, their own conflicts and solutions they resist and lean towards is what the entire film thrives upon.
The emotional drama is not over chewed or even manipulative, the subtle nuances of the heartwarming relationship of a father and son is something that is ticking throughout the course of the film set in background. Aforementioned, the humor isn't cheap, at times it is swept in smoothly into narration. For instance, when Gerald played by Tom Wilkinson confesses his embarrassing secret to Dave portrayed by Mark Addy.
Speaking of whom, Addy's characters is the strongest of all and his performance makes a powerful impact on the film as he struggles with possibly from all directions; the Rocky themed background score is a pretty nice touch to it. Gaz (Robert Carlyle) the leader of the group is the apt host to follow, since he is uncertain in his own rules and terms, the affection for him comes rushing in as he guides his kid with fair examples in life. Simon Beaufoy has written a smart illuminating script, The Full Monty, as titled, goes on full speed with its gripping layered screenplay that is not provoking but ingenious in its comfort zone.
great characters, ridiculous but funny and entertaining plot.
Very funny movie! Robert Carlyle's character Gaz is goofy, warm and extremely lovable. Dave Addy and Tom Wilkinson give great performances. Brings a real human side out! Highly recommend if you're looking for relatable characters and a good laugh.
Funny, smart, and brilliantly acted.
An absolute classic.
Vulgar, trashy and obvious. It means well, and sometimes you feel it. Whether or not you give it a thumps up is anyones guess.
The idea is simple and the movie too. It's a pleaser, but it please so well, with the right amount of "dramedy", and with lovely accents that it was on the verge to become a cult. At least in my list of cults.
This film did not live up to the hype. I think as I knew where it was going and it followed tropes of British 90 films there wasn't much left to the imagination. The last scene was enjoyable but it didn't really feel like the victory for the characters it should have been.