Running Time: 104 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: Ireland, United Kingdom
Its perhaps a little ironic that an actors best performance can come when hes stuck in a wheelchair and spends an entire film moving nothing more than his face and a couple of fingers. But thats exactly the case for James McAvoy, the Scottish actor who, after appearances in the likes of Bright Young Things and Wimbledon, finally shows exactly what hes capable of as Rory, the muscular dystrophy sufferer who shakes up the lives of all around him in Inside Im Dancing.
The films opening sees rebellious nu-metal-loving Rory arrive at Dublins Carrigmore Home for the Disabled, a cold, clinical establishment proudly advertising itself as a special home for special people. Its here he meets Michael (Steven Robertson), a man whose cerebral palsy has left him unable to talk in anything more than a moaned mumble, and the pair strike up a remarkable friendship.
Working together, theyre able to secure themselves an Independent Living deal from the authorities, a modern ground floor flat in the middle of town, and best of all as far as Michaels concerned the personal assistance of pretty party girl Siobhan (Romola Garai, lighting up the screen as usual).
Written by Jeffrey Caine and helmed by Damien ODonnell (his previous credits include Heartlands and East Is East), the film aims for both the heart-strings and the funny bone and, more often than not, it manages to find both of its targets. It contains several memorable comic moments, such as when Rory and Michael use a couple of charity collections buckets to go out on the lash at a local nightspot.
Indeed, the liberal use of comedy helps the picture get the balance just right between putting its message across and not being too preachy. Sure, you could say that using a couple of able-bodied actors to play the two leads goes at least some way towards defeating the purpose but I dare say thats an issue that wont cross most viewers minds, and certainly didnt ruin my appreciation of what is a very good film.
It's Got: Some always-enjoyable footage of Bagpuss.
It Needs: Rory to rethink his abysmal taste in music. I mean, seriously, Slipknot?? The guys not twelve, for Gods sake!
Alternatives:My Left Foot
A moving tale of the fun that can be had sitting down.