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Honest Review

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Three sisters, living in the East End in the '60s, strive to escape their dour lives by robbing "up West", disguised as men and, er, the Beatles. Things go awry when the eldest sister falls for an American student and the gang fall foul of local criminal big-shots, but the sisters pull together for one last job.

★★★★★

Set in the late 60s amid the rise of Flower Power, class A's and ineffectual student revolution, Honest is predominantly a love story with a touch of Mike Leigh-esque social drama. The pet project of the hairy Eurythmic for many years, it was only when he heard that the girls from All Saints were looking to make a film that Honest came out of development hell; All Saints minus one - Shaznay - that is, making it less a "pop star movie" and more a movie which happens to feature pop stars in leading roles.

That said, the film hasn't got a whole lot else going for it. Although loosely based on Stewart's life, the story could have taken place in any period, the bad wigs and bad clothes little more than a cheap visual ploy. Equally, an acid trip scene goes for the obvious: naked people, swirling colours and distorted camera work, "the gag" wearing thin after a few seconds. Most cringe-making is the spectacle of the gals dressed as guys.

Apart from that, the girls don't put in a bad showing. Nicole is competent as the eldest sister who falls for Daniel, an Oxford undergrad who just happens to be a critic on "radical" publication Zero (another slightly dodgy diversion). Natalie is the tough one, an angry, gun-toting, justice-seeking tart, who shags greasy bikers, punishes the wife batterer next door and trades oral sex for weapons. But it's Melanie who shines, as innocent Jo. She has less to do than the others but makes the most of her screen time. None look like pop stars - they pass as poor, East End girls, and the family relationships are nicely handled.

Athough the film is a colourful pop-art flick, it's savage in parts, with elements of graphic violence. The publicised nudity fits the storyline but still seems gratuitous, because those bearing their breasts are so well known. Yet at the core is a surprisingly sweet story of heroines trying to make the best of a bad situation. It just doesn't gel. Given a more experienced team, it could have been so much more.

A comedy romp with too many jokes that miss the mark. The All Saints aren’t bad, surprisingly it's Melanie Blatt that shows the most promise. However, the story lets them down; for the curious only.

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