“I’m ready. I’ve got Bob. He’ll look after me.”
What this movie offers, unlike many other films in cinemas at the moment, is the feelgood factor. Watching the film is a mostly comfortable process – although there are some dark/hard-hitting moments, unsurprising considering the topics, the film follows a familiar narrative telling a story that will leave you feline good. If you’ve read James Bowen’s 2013 autobiographical novel of the same name you’ll be seeing a familiar story that has little changes from its transition onto the big screen. Instead there are only two additions which simply add to the film – a truly lovely soundtrack comprised of Treadaway as Bowen busking and lots of shots from Bob the Cat’s point of view.
In fact it’s the success of these moments that almost takes away from Bowen’s story.Bob – playing himself – is such an extraordinary and engaging presence on the screen that he totally steals the show. It regularly feels that his human counterpart is in fact his sidekick – something which Treadaway as Bowen says repeatedly during the film. In a way this in turn forces the film to become more lightweight and throwaway – we want to see/hear more about James aside from brief sound bites of dialogue-as-exposition. However this does not detract from its sensitive treatment of serious topics in a way that all the family can access. This is a very different film from ‘I,Daniel Blake’ (click here for my review of that incredible film) yet I sincerely hope people take away a simillar message about community. As Christmas and its hostile weather is fast approaching we must think more about those who have no shelter from it. Bob the Cat provided James Bowen with a second chance; may we help others get theirs.
Dir: Roger Spottiswoode
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2016 Run time:103 minutes
Cast: Bob the Cat, Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Beth Goddard.