Review: A Street Cat Named Bob

Luke Treadaway (James). Director and Co-producer Roger Spottiswoode. Producer Adam Rolston of Shooting Script Films. Screenplay adapted by Tim John and Maria Nation; based on the International Best Selling book A Street Cat Named Bob.

Right off the bat you should know that the titular Bob is playing himself, so this isn’t an animal story that requires a box of tissues. Based on the book of the same name by James Bowen, played in the film by Luke Treadaway, it’s true rags-to-riches story of a homeless recovering drug addict who is attempting to eek out an existence as a busker in London. After social worker Val (Joanne Froggatt) manages to secure him a flat, the arrival of a ginger feline gives James a new focus as the two wayward souls change each others lives.

A STREET CAT NAMED BOB never shies away from the realities of homelessness, with the process of addiction recovery, the methadone program, and living rough presented as fact. Unlike last year’s superb I, Daniel Blake, from the incomparable Ken Loach, the primary mission of director Roger Spottiswoode’s film is to tell a sweet and charming story with very little drama. Indeed, almost everybody going into this film will know Bob’s well-publicised fate, but the film is in no particular hurry to get us there. There’s genuine performances from Treadaway and Froggatt in particular, and the familiar face of Anthony Head gets a strong emotional arc as Bowen’s estranged dad. So while the film might ultimately tend towards being saccharine, hopefully it will make you stop and think before you walk straight by a Big Issue vendor. 

Here some excellent places in Australia that could always use your support, and can change people’s lives for a few dollars or some of your time.

Mission Australia | The Big Issue | Homelessness Australia

2016 | UK| DIR: Roger Spottiswoode | WRITER: August Wilson | CAST: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Caroline Goodall, Bob the Cat | DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Australia | RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes | RELEASE DATE: 9 February 2017 (AUS)