Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Bob the Cat, Luke Treadaway and Ruta Gedmintas
Release Date: Out Now
Based on the book of the same name by James Bowen and Garry Jenkins, A Street Cat Named Bob tells the story of a homeless drug addict on his way to recovery. During the recovery process, he is provided with a bare-bones apartment. Cue the intrusion of a ginger cat named Bob, which later becomes the best thing that has ever happened to him.
Bob is a beacon of hope as James (Treadaway) undergoes the darkest journey of withdrawal.
The film accurately reflects the harsh realities of drug addiction, but from multiple perspectives. It shows that drug abuse does not only affect the person addicted, but everyone that individual loves and is loved by.
It allows us to see both sides of what is essentially the same story, and gives insight into what is, cruelly, a daily struggle. There is an emphasis on the distance it can place between the individual and others, and how difficult that can be. For anyone who has had to deal with drug abuse amongst family or friends, this movie will certainly find its way to your emotional soft spots with surgical precision.
And while the overall tone might seem like something of a cop out, considering the subject matter, it makes for a nice change. You will leave the movie theatre with a heart full of hope instead of that familiar, bitter taste in your mouth you might associate with films like Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream.
The fact that it is based on an autobiography nonetheless gives the movie a raw edge, even as it maintains its humanity. The soundtrack is rich but, in a neat touch, is provided almost entirely by James busking on the street. The writing feels organic for the most part as well, particularly with James when he is with Bob. Luke embodies James’ character particularly well, in a way that does the real James justice.
It is when Bob (the cat) is introduced that the film comes into its own, as we see that everything rests on his furry shoulders. Once befriended, they start busking together, affording James a relatively steady income and, surprisingly, fame.
It can be viewed somewhat cynically, that with fame comes happiness. Yet, that cynicism is coyly diluted, by adding the element of a cute little kitty. It’s a sneaky trick, but an effective one.
Sentimental though it might be, it’s easy to fall back and accept that Bob was the push James needed to recollect his mind and sort out his life.
Whether you’re a fan of human drama or internet cat videos, A Street Cat Named Bob is 100% worth your time.
It will likely make you tear up, might make you laugh and will certainly keep you immersed in the story for, what feels like, a paltry 103 minutes. With enjoyable performances all around, the Oscar for cat of the year will certainly go to Bob.
Written by Luisa Muudric