Gabriel And Me

Gabriel And Me


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Around the time of Michael and A Life Less Ordinary, angels were quite the thing. Not any more. Certainly not after this.

Billy Connolly, made up like Danny La Rue and dressed by Armani, is the wingless variety. In fact, at the beginning, you suspect he's up to no good, lurking around an 11-year-old boy, in grubby sneakers and a dirty mac.

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"Learnt anything interesting at school today?" he inquires.

"No," Jimmy Spud says.

"That's a pity," Gabriel says.

He's not just an angel, he's THE angel. But he can't do much. He can't stop Jimmy's dad dying of cancer.

Although trying desperately to disguise the fact, Lee Hall's script is oozingly sentimental. When Jimmy's dad (Iain Glenn) was working, he was great. He used to throw the lad in the air and laugh. He doesn't do that anymore. In the North East, once ships stopped being built, a black depression hung over Newcastle. Unemployed men tended their pigeons, or sat about smoking.

The film is narrated by Jimmy (Sean Landless). To compensate for a dad who doesn't love him anymore, he dreams. Or rather, he constructs a bird suit out of feathers. This is where Gabriel comes in. He is supposed to teach him how to be an angel.

There is a word for this. Icky.

For a boy who has never acted before, 14-year-old Landless shows character. Jimmy is unusual. He doesn't like football and hasn't any friends until he saves a boy scout from drowning in a scene that scores nil point on the credibility charts. He has his dad - well, not any more. He has his grandad (David Bradley, giving the most convincing performance) and he has Gabriel (what do you think you were doing, Billy?). In the circumstances, to appear anything but a jellyfish is a triumph. Landless is not that good. But he tries.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2001
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A boy tries to become an angel so he can save his dad from dying.
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Director: Udayan Prasad

Writer: Lee Hall

Starring: Iain Glen, David Bradley, Sean Landless, Rosie Rowell, Billy Connolly, Ian Cullen, Sean Foley, Trevor Fox, Bridie Hales, Nicky Hayer, Jacqueline King

Year: 2001

Runtime: 84 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 2001

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