12 user 17 critic

Sparkle (2007)

Sam is a charming, young chancer who moves to London. His best laid plans for success suffer a real setback when true love turns his world upside down in the most unexpected of circumstances.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lesley Manville ... Jill
John Shrapnel ... Bernie
Bob Hoskins ... Vince
Peter Gordon Peter Gordon ... Ivor
Shaun Evans ... Sam
Lorenzo Martelli ... Rooftop Party Man
Roy Carruthers Roy Carruthers ... Frank
Stockard Channing ... Sheila
Sophia Dawnay Sophia Dawnay ... Camilla
Ellie Haddington Ellie Haddington ... Frances
David Woodcock David Woodcock ... Simon
Amanda Ryan ... Kate
Omar Berdouni ... Luis
Anthony Head ... Tony
Richard Cant ... Adrian


Sam Sparks is a 22-year-old ready to strike out on is own in moving to London. When landlord Vince gets his brother Bernie to have friend Frank hire Sam as a waiter, Sam meets his soon-to-be PR boss, Sheila. Sensing opportunity, Sam charms himself a job as Sheila's PA... and her lover, but when Sam falls for Kate, he instigates a series of family revelations. As balancing his job and love life becomes overwhelming, unexpected twists and uncovered secrets force Sam to choose between his career and the love of his life. Written by Revolver

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gigolo | waiter | landlord | moving | party | See All (67) »




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Release Date:

7 September 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Искра See more »

Filming Locations:

Castletown, Isle of Man See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(European Film Market)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Originally, Sam was going to be an electrician. "Sparky" is a common British term for electrician. As the plot developed, Sam went to London looking for any kind of work. The producers still wanted to call the film Sparkle, so they gave Sam the surname Sparks and made his mother a singer. See more »


Sheila: Take my word for it, just because you love someone doesn't mean you get them.
See more »


Too Shy
Performed by Kajagoogoo
Composed by Limahl (as Chris Hamill), Steve Askew, Nick Beggs, Jez Strode (as Jeremy Strode), Stuart Neale
© EMI Music Publishing Limited
By kind permission of EMI Music Publishing Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Not exactly Bollinger - more like a lovely sparkly Cava that will still warm your heart
26 August 2007 | by Chris_DockerSee all my reviews

A sparkle is as indefinable as the soul.

We can all spot it - someone who sparkles at a party. We all want it - that magic charisma. Can you think of a time when the air sparkled? You stop what you were thinking about. You hang on to every word. Maybe a smile is slowly captured at the corner of your lips? As you open your mouth to speak, does it sound like someone else speaking? Reverie in motion. Something inside just . . . sparkles! If we could only bottle it and put it in a novel, a song, a play, a movie.

But Sparkle is no metaphysical examination of psychological attitude. It is a loving, light-hearted, low-effort comedy. And it sparkles.

Jill is the aspiring pub singer. She travels down to London with son Sam so they can both seek fame and fortune. Vince (Bob Hoskins) offers them a flat. Sam soon meets Sheila (Stockard Chaning). Sheila is a powerful, vampish woman with her own PR company. Sam soon sleeps his way into her business. But their cosy arrangement hits problems when Sam falls for Kate (Amanda Ryan). And only later does he find out that Kate is Sheila's daughter.

Sparkle does at times feel like a re-run of The Graduate, updated to a modern London setting. But its warm charm and lack of any pretentiousness wins our hearts. Hoskins has one of his most lovable roles. Shaun Evans, as Sam, perfectly balances genuine sincerity against gold-digging acumen. They all exude spontaneity and a range of conflicting emotions are handled with finesse rather than grandstanding. It can, however, verge on being too deep after telling us we will just be entertained. "I know you're a bit shallow," Kate teases Sam, and so is this movie. But do we care? Dollops of sound political correctness fill subtexts for those who have naughtily forgotten to leave brains at the popcorn stand.

If there's a moral, maybe it's that even the most horrid-seeming family members aren't bad once you know things from their point of view. The inter-relatedness and mountains of coincidence are a bit overdone for believability. But, hey, there are enough giggles to distract us as we wade through a box of Kleenex at high speed. Lesley Manville (as Jill) even does her own stage songs (the film title is from a poster where she makes a grand opening). This is shameless schmaltz - a genuine British feelgood romcom.

Director/writer Tom Hunsinger says, "We use improvisation as a means of discovery. Actors, in character and in the heat of the moment, react to situations in ways that cannot necessarily be written or predicted or easily imagined. The process lends itself to a life-like, spontaneous quirky quality allowing us to write for the individual 'voice' of each actor. Actor and character somehow 'knit together', resulting in performances that feel authentic and deeply felt." Not that I thought about that deeply about it at the time.

I actually laughed and cried till one of my contacts fell out.

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