Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (19)
| Top Critics (1)
| Fresh (16)
| Rotten (3)
This is low budget and it shows, but it's clear Thraves has still got something to say.
Sure, Treacle Jr. has its glitches, but it's a lovely film, tender and funny, with a splendidly judged performance from Aidan Gillen, and so much more craft than the usual low-fi, handheld murkfest.
Now you know what to do if Harry Potter is sold out.
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.
Treacle Jr won't win Oscars or swell the bank balances of cast and crew. In other words, it ain't The King's Speech. But I'd choose it over Tom Hooper's film any day, because it shows a London I recognise.
Its portrait of an unconventional, curiously needy friendship developing in an inhuman environment does hold the attention.
Gillen gives a, loose-limbed comic performance, often funny, sometimes very sad.
Gillen steals the film, all whirly armed brio and Sylvester the Cat lisp. But it doesn't take much stealing.
A thoughtful tale of mid-life crisis and the comfort of strangers, it's gruff, funny and stealthily poignant, with a handmade sincerity you'd struggle to fake.
Entertaining but a touch slight, one thing that's in no doubt is that Treacle Jnr's heart is in the right place; it is, after all, a film named after a kitten.
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.
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