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There’s a terrific warmth and strength to this good-natured, big-hearted British comedy, written for the screen by Jo Brand, who has adapted her own 2009 novel. It is a bit rough around the edges at times, with some pretty broad dramatic effects, but the narrative motor keeps humming and the sheer force of sympathy drives it along.
It tackles difficult themes. It is set in the 1980s and Ella Hunt plays Alice, a lonely teenager who, in a blinding flash while watching Top of the Pops, has conceived an obsessive love for Morrissey of the Smiths. But she is all too well aware that her mum Gina (played with full-throttle commitment by Sheridan Smith) is prone to psychotic episodes, after postnatal depression when Alice was born, and that one of the most disastrous symptoms is stalkerish delusional obsessions with celebrities – in her mum’s case, the local TV weather presenter. Is Alice’s dreamily romantic love for Morrissey a kind of escape from her awful situation at home, or has she just inherited her mum’s terrible tendencies?
Mark Addy plays Alice’s stoic and caring dad Keith; Sally Phillips plays a local GP who has fallen in love with him; Sheila Hancock has an uproarious small role as Alice’s dysfunctional gran and Jo Brand has a walk-on as a former psychiatric nurse who now works at the corner shop. As a former psychiatric nurse herself, Brand knows the subject, and she brings to it a unique mix of wisdom, humour and seriousness. Sheridan Smith gives her role real emotional force and you can’t help rooting for her – and the whole family.
Source: The Guardian
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