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SPARKLE

Director: TOM HUNSINGER & NEIL HUNTER

U.K. • 2006 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 100 MIN


FOLLOWING THEIR LOW-KEY BUT RATHER MARVELLOUS THE LAWLESS HEART, WRITING AND DIRECTING DUO NEIL HUNTER AND TOM HUNSINGER HAVE CREATED ANOTHER WITTY, TOUCHING FRESCO OF TANGLED LIVES IN THIS UPFRONT FOLLOW-UP.
Once again, disarming human connections reveal themselves in the course of an intricately woven plot, following ambitious young Sam (Shaun Evans) as he arrives in London from Liverpool and sleeps his way into an assistant’s job with powerful PR-monger (Stockard Channing), at the same time falling for twenty-something Kate (Amanda Ryan) and remaining blissfully unaware of the significant relationship between these two women. While these complications escalate, Evans’ mum (Lesley Manville), bobbling along as a pub singer, attracts the attention of her shy neighbour (Bob Hoskins), who has his own unexpected links to the rest of the story, delivered in a truly heart-rending climactic outpouring showing what a wonderful actor Hoskins can still be if given the right material.
Although the story doesn’t quite click together with the dextrousness of their previous outing, Hunter and Hunsinger’s trademark combination of elaborate story-spinning and touching emotional authenticity still delivers its fair share of piercing revelations—notably in a quite brilliant scene where something as simple as a kitchen layout proves a crucial fulcrum for destinies in the balance. With its zingy colour design and fizzy humour, the film’s so easy to take, yet it’s never far away from a moment of melancholy contemplation worth lingering over. And did anyone ever imagine The Korgis’ ’80s ballad ‘Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime’ could provide such a grace note of experienced insight? —Trevor Johnston.

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