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As a thirty something acting teacher attempts to push a group of eager young performers out of their comfort zones, he struggles with his own ability to live an authentic and fulfilling life with his teenage son.
Kevin Lewis never had a chance. Growing up on a poverty-stricken London council estate, beaten and starved by his parents, bullied at school and abandoned by social services, his life was never his own. Even after he was put into care, he found himself out on the streets caught up in a criminal underworld that knew him as 'The Kid'. Yet Kevin survived to make a better life for himself. This international bestseller published in 2003 is his heartbreaking and inspiring story. The screenplay written by Mark Thomas and Kevin Lewis is a faithful adaptation of the novel.Written by
I'm afraid I didn't like this film. I can handle difficult-to-watch with the best of them - I think Tyranosaurus is the best film of 2011, but 'The Kid' catapults us through far too many years, characters and emotions, that it makes one giddy and rather nauseous.
I haven't read the novel and I'm sure that that more successfully tells Kevin's story. An unrecognisable, but usually very beautiful Natascha McElhone is Kevin's almost inhuman mother, a screaming, shouting performance that not only repels but disgraces both the actor and the film and her alcoholic husband (whose actor's name I cannot find) beat, scold and swear at their child that is so over-the-top that it's almost unbelievable.
Understandably, Kevin gets taken into care and at last, credible acting from the reassuring Uncle David, Bernard Hill and Heartbeat's Niamh Cusak, as the school nurse, who finds bruises all over Kevin's body. James Fox comes to both Kevin's - and our - rescue as the kind-hearted and good Alan, a comfortably-off married adopter.
However, where I feel director Nick Moran goes wrong is pitching 'The Kid' as both a gritty, urban Two Smoking Barrels movie and a sentimental rite of passage. They just don't mix. We, OK, I, find it difficult to empathise with Kevin, even and when it turns to running loss-making bars and getting beaten to a pulp in boxing matches (does Rupert Friend seriously look like he has the physique of a boxer?), then I began to dismiss the film more and more.
Yes, the tentative relationship with Jackie (Jodie Whittaker) was both welcome and touching but even that got a bit crazy toward the end. I know many found the film embracing and gripping, but I'm afraid I was left rather cold, with a slightly bad taste in my mouth.
5 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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