Gabriel and Me Review

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Picked on at school, bullied by his seriously ill father, 11 year-old loner Jimmy Spud finds solace in his dream of becoming an angel, a plan that picks up pace when the Archangel Gabriel arrives to process his application


If Lee Hall's script shares pertinent traits with his own Billy Elliot - introspective kid battles oppressive dad to pursue impossible dream (and it doesn't end there - Newcastle is once again the setting) - it is unlikely G&M will scale similar heights. It's major failing is its' lack of investment in character, with Glen in particular suffering as a bare-bones, 2D 'bad Dad', and onnolly is just plain wasted as the archangel; only Bradley's Grandad shapes up as anything interesting. Ironically, given its preoccupation with flight, the film is leaden in its combination of childhood whimsy and gritty realism.

There are some effective story strands (Jimmy's relationship with his anarchist grandfather) and powerful moments (the hospital finale), but the overall effect is more wan than winning.