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  1. Published on: 28/10/2017 11:39 AMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: The true story of Robin Cavendish and his battle of overcoming the polio disease.

    I think its natural to first think 'Oscar-bait' when either looking at the synopsis of this story or the trailer. It is clear there is a certain formula that the Academy seem to like and you more or less can see certain films be considered as an Oscar contender. This film certainly fits the bill.

    Whilst expecting that, I was also excited as this was the directorial debut of 'Mr. Motion Capture' himself, Andy Serkis.

    The first act certainly had me thinking this was going to be over melodramatic, soapy and sentimental. It also felt rushed and far too old-fashioned in its tone.
    But by the time the second half comes around, its charm and drama was winning me over. The comedy was working for me and the performances were being elevated especially by Andrew Garfield. Then a heart-breaking tearful finale just made it a worthwhile viewing experience.

    As briefly mentioned before, Garfield is the biggest cog in this machine and it was a very enjoyable experience thanks to him. I believed in his character and felt every bit of pain that he was feeling. Claire Foy was a great support for Garfield. Their on-screen relationship together blossom really well and felt as strong as the main story.
    There was also lots of top British casting choices in the supporting roles. Tom Hollander does an impressive roles playing himself twice as twin characters in an Armie Hammer way like in The Social Network. The comedic relief intention is there despite not working all of the time.
    Hugh Bonneville gave it a nice bit of class in his minor role as this quirky inventor. Other faces that were nicing see be involed in this project were Stephen Mangan and young Dean-Charles Chapman from Game Of Thrones fame.
    It was a wonderful surprise seeing Jonathan Hyde. I remember him always playing a cool minor role in some big films in the late 1990's such as The Mummy, Titanic and Jumanji. It looked as if he had not aged a single bit and I hope to see in more film projects in the type of role you would associate him with.

    There is not much to mention from the technical side. Despite not being exceptional, it's all shot perfectly fine. Its stronger area in this department most certainly was the costumes. It fitted the time period nicely, they looked impressive creations and there was a lot of variety as the story spans from the late 50's to the early 90's.

    I really liked this by the end of it. Yes it doesn't get off to the best of starts. But I felt it took a turn that just had me smiling and also saddened in what was a strong and emotional second and final acts.
    This is the best of Andrew Garfield I have seen since The Social Network and he made me believe in the characters ambitions. His chemistry and Claire Foy was great to see develop throughout and was a powerful aspect to this story.
    I think if you can get past the first 30 mins, then you eventually warm to this moving drama.

    A fair amount of people will get sniffy about this and say it seems almost too cheerful, light-hearted and feeling like an Oscar-bait film. I'm fine with that as I can totally see where there coming from.
    I somewhat agree that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the darker side of this story. But the charming and light content was hard to resist and I just couldn't stop chuckling at the sweet comedy, or be emotional at the sad moments.
    I can see great potential for Serkis in his directing career. Maybe this is the way we will see finally get an Oscar?

    Rating: 8/10
     

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