There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

There's Only One Jimmy Grimble


Reviewed by: Nicola Osborne

Jimmy Grimble is a nice lad. He gets beaten up by the bullies, he puts up with his single mum's dubious boyfriends and he sticks up for City when the world loves United. Yup, it's another coming of age footie film...

Jimmy is a talented player, or rather he is on his own. Give him an audience (eg. Other members of a team) and he falls apart completely and it takes a gift of some very old boots from a weird old woman (Jane Lapotaire enjoying a great quirky little role) to convince him he might have a chance. And so his life begins to change for the better...

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Whilst the film loves the idea of it being "grim up north" (what post-Full Monty film hasn't tried this tactic?) this is nevertheless an upbeat affair. Though Jimmy's home life isn't especially stable it's not devastatingly messed up either, the same applies to his bullying (though we are subjected to many school hell cliches here...) and there is a low-key ordinariness to the whole thing, which adds to its significant charm.

Another great touch that lifts the film is the pumping soundtrack which particularly affects the footie scenes making them pass by without boredom and adding something vital in the process.

As Jimmy Grimble the marvelously craggy-faced young Lewis McKenzie is excellent overcoming the odds (and some irritating use of voiceover) as our plucky little hero.

He also manages to be highly believable thus showing up a few of the adults whose complicated lives seem to have been vastly simplified for a young audience. Both Gina Mckee and Robert Carlyle plod along amiably in dull roles they could do in their sleep, with Carlyle looking especially bored (though this fortunately suits the character perfectly).

Ray Winstonee hams it up nicely as the slightly slimy, but very loveable father figure and ex-boyfriend of Jimmy's mum. Outside of this core group both Jimmy and his mum's love interests stand out for their performances. Lucy (Samia Ghadie) is a great creation who could have so easily been further expanded, meanwhile Ben Miller gets most of the laughs with his inspired turn as McKee's latest boyfriend - a martial-arts and motorbike mad idiot with a childish and slightly sinister edge...

A fun film which should do especially well with men of a certain age who still dream that they might have been a great football player in their youth. Somehow avoiding the curse of having been partially lottery funded, this is unchallenging but happy and entertaining stuff.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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There's Only One Jimmy Grimble packshot
A misfit schoolkid dreams of being a footie star.
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Read more There's Only One Jimmy Grimble reviews:

Symon Parsons *****
Keith Hennessey Brown ****
Angus Wolfe Murray ***

Director: John Hay

Writer: Simon Mayle, John Hay, Rik Carmichael

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Gina McKee, Ray Winstone, Lewis McKenzie, Ben Miller, Jane Lapotaire

Year: 2000

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 2000

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