Christine Powley reviews Hunky Dory.
Director: Marc Evans
Cast: Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard, Danielle Branch, Robert
Pugh, Darren Evans, Aled Pugh, Adam Byard, Jodie Davis,
Kristian Gwilliam, Julia Perez
It is a truism that childhood memories tend to consist of one
long glorious summer, but in 1976 England had a true long hot
summer, and for anyone wanting to do a coming-of-age tale set
in the '70s, that is the year to pick.
Hunky Dory (Rialto) follows the last three weeks of
school for a bunch of working-class kids in Wales.
Their groovy young teacher, Miss May (Minnie Driver), is
putting on The Tempest as a mash-up of Shakespeare and
David Bowie songs. Luckily for her, everyone plays a musical
instrument or has a beautiful voice.
But, to her frustration, turning up for rehearsals is not a
priority for the pupils. They want to hang out at the local
swimming pool, sunbathe in the backyard or argue over who is
None of this teenage heartbreak is necessarily a bad thing in
a film but it is treated so listlessly here I had trouble
keeping it straight. In fact, I could barely work out who was
who, let alone which subplot they were involved with.
You know that annoying person who sits behind you in the
cinema and keeps asking "Which one is he?" Well, Hunky
Dory turned me into that person, and understanding film
plots is one of my skill sets.
Best thing: The musical interludes give this some energy.
They might have been better off just giving us a musical
version of The Tempest.
Worst thing: The plot meanders in such a naturalistic
manner you have to watch the entire thing to get it and it
gives us very little in terms of enjoyment along the way.
See it with: Anyone who bought Bowie's Hunky
Dory in original vinyl.