Paradise Grove Review

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Keith, a half-Jewish, half-Black teenager with an understandle identity crisis lives with his single mum in the old folks home she manages, which is also home to his grandad. Then Kim - another teenager, arrives, looking for work.


Britain's first contemporary Jewish feature for a decade arrives in cinemas with a slew of festival prizes to its name. Yet, while its dark comedic tone and excellent Klezmer-jazz soundtrack make it infinitely preferable to such OAP fripperies as Mrs Caldicott's Cabbage War, Charles Harris' debut still bears too many traces of the stilted scripting and over-eager acting that has blighted so many recent UK ethnic movies.

Leyland O'Brien shows well as the teenager whose sole ambition is to persuade his dying grandfather that he can be both black and Jewish, while Rula Lenska provides restrained support as his single mum, struggling to run a cash-strapped retirement home. But Ron Moody's performance is out on stalks, as it veers from flashes of roguish spirit to morbid disgust at his decaying body.

Leyland O'Brien and Rula Lenska show well, but the film belongs to Moody, despite an occasionally stilted script.