Film Review by Kam Williams
Overcoming-the-Odds Biopic Recounts Rise of Aspiring Opera Singer
For as long as Paul Potts (James Corden) can remember, all he every wanted to do was sing. Blessed with a big voice, the chubby boy sang everywhere as a child, whether in the shower, walking down the street, riding the school bus, or in the church choir.
Sadly, this inclination didn’t sit well with the ruffians of Port Talbot, the blue-collar town where Paul was raised. The more he sang, the more they would bully him, and vice-versa.
Fast-forward to 2004 where we find Paul, at 34, pursuing the pipe dream of an opera career and still living at home with his supportive mom (Julie Walters) and skeptical dad (Colm Meaney). Meanwhile, he’s taken a job as a cell phone salesman in order to save up enough money for a master class in Venice with the legendary Luciano Pavarotti (Stanley Townsend). And he is lucky to have an understanding girlfriend in Julz (Alexandra Roach), a portly pepperpot he met over the internet.
Thus unfolds One Chance, a delightful musical dramedy directed by Oscar-winner David Frankel (Dear Diary), best known for The Devil Wears Prada. Here, the Native New Yorker has fashioned an overcoming-the-odds biopic revolving around Potts’ real-life exploits as a contestant on the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent.”
The film feels a lot like The Full Monty (striptease) and Billy Elliot (ballet) in terms of the protagonist’s pursuit of an unconventional art form. However, it also is evocative of Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral in the way it wins your heart via a charming courtship.
A touching, true tale chronicling a talented troubadour’s televised triumphs.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity and sexuality
In English and Italian with subtitles
Running time: 103 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company