When Jimmy Comes Back to His Ex-Wife... Amusing UK Drama
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 09/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though the title sounds like a Sergio Leone film, or any Italian made Westerns, 'Once Upon a Time in Midlands' is a low-key British comedy-drama starring Robert Carlyle ('Full Monty'), Kathy Burke (Nil By Mouth'), Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle in 'Harry Potter'), and Rhys Ifans ('Notting Hill'). Opinions divide among the viewers, especially the critics who find similar themes in recent UK films -- like gangsters -- but the similarity is only on the surface.
Robert Carlyle is a Scotsman Jimmy, who happens to have see his ex-wife Shirley (Shirley Henderson) on TV show (imagine British Jerry Springer show). There, another guy, Welshman Dek (surprisingly normal Ifans) asks Shirley to marry him, holding a bundle of flowers. Contrary to his expectations, he is rejected. Now that's a sign for Jimmy to reclaim the once lost love.
From Glasgow (where he is involved in a petty crime such as robbing clowns), Jimmy returns Shirley's home in the Midlands (part located in north of London). Can he get back her love? Or her daughter who considers Dek is her father? And what will those three criminals do, who follow Jimmy from Scotland to this town? Can Dek hold his own, and keep Shirley's love to the end?
It is not hard to tell the outcomes, and you know the answer. Kathy Burke plays the nagging middle-aged woman who loves bingo games, uses very bad languages, but still has a heart of gold. Carlyle is also the same kind of guy you saw in 'Trainspotting' -- when he is in good mood, he could be a nice guy, but potentially he could raise hell, and we know it. I don't say they are typecast; but some might think so.
But at the heart of the film there is a generous, feel-good mood, which manage to raise the film one notch up above the average British films. Director Shane Meadows handles the characters with certain kind of tenderness, and that feeling is conveyed to you very naturally.
With evocative Western score, the film often looks as if parodying the rules of the Western film genre. In fact, the film has a distict tinge of a British one, with a slightly comic touch. (And accents are thick, but you can understand them as the story goes on.) Look at this one as a family drama, and you will be entertained pretty much."
Average love story
EriKa | Iceland | 03/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Carlyle is brilliant in this kind of role-violent, shiftless, abusive guy who somehow lulls those closest to him into a certain blindness and obeisance to his brutality. He reappears on the scene in his ex-girlfriend's life when he sees quiet, mild-mannered Dek (Rhys Ifans) proposing to Shirley on a tv talk show. When she refuses the proposal, Jimmy (Carlyle) sees it as his grand opportunity to claim the one who got away. Shirley is portrayed by Shirley Henderson, who seems to pop up in small, unusual but often pivotal roles (24 Hour Party People, for example). When Jimmy resurfaces, Dek cowers, backs down, not fighting for the woman he loves, much to the disappointment of Shirley's precocious child, who considers Dek her father.
Eventually Dek finds his nerve and sends Jimmy packing, but only once he hits rock bottom and decided to take what's rightfully his-not by resorting to stupidity but by using his love, sensitivity and stability.
A British Point Of View
Mr. D. Boss | Hitchin, Hertfordshire, UK | 02/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a mixed film, containing love, humour and hate. All delecatly combined to produce something like this. Although some parts you do kind of loose interest, but brings you back in with the hard true love that one man has for his lady, and what he will do in order to get it. This is a good film, defenatly one I would recommend."
If you like offbeat this is the ticket.
Ronald J. Argabright | Huber Heights, OH United States | 03/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an offbeat love story. If you like offbeat foreign films you'll love this movie. At times understanding what people were saying was difficult. I've heard this from a couple of friends who saw this also. I only had problems understanding one of the characters. But the story and offbeat moments is wonderfully great. This is a must see!"