Hooley's Teenage Kicks
As a child of Belfast Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) saw things change, friends ending up on different sides of the conflict, once bustling pubs now empty as well as his own life after meeting Ruth (Jodie Whittaker) and settling down with her. But in the midst of this conflict, the bombed streets of Belfast during the 70s Terry with his collection of records decides to open a record shop called "Good Vibrations". It soon becomes a mecca for teenagers and thanks to them Terry starts his own record label as his eyes are opened to the underground punk movement.
A movie about the unrest in Northern Ireland of the 70s or about a man who runs a record shop does not register highly on my list of movies I have to watch, but then I don't really have a list of movies to watch and will watch any movie once even if it disappoints. "Good Vibrations" doesn't disappoint as it has that infectious charm which elevates it to a different level of entertainment; quirky, amusing and in a strange way inspiring whilst bringing to life the story of Terri Hooley. It is very cleverly done as it offers something for everyone even those like me who had never heard of Hooley.
So what does it do; well through the comical narration of Hooley we learn all about the troubles in Belfast and how those who were once friends now find themselves enemies and how the constabulary would spend time on minor issues rather than the bigger issues which brings the conflict to life in an easy to deal with way. And in the same way we learn all about Hooley and his sense of blind faith as he decides to open a record store in the middle of Belfast, a completely foolish idea yet he believed he could make it work with his infectious love of music. And so it goes on because we then see how after being introduced to punk he ends up starting his own record label and championing a certain punk band.
The thing about all this is that if like me you have no interest or knowledge of Hooley it doesn't matter as it is all about the tone and a lot of that comes from a first class performance from Richard Dormer. Dormer makes Hooley a believer, a man who thinks everything is possible and despite just being an average guy is not scared of experiencing life and stepping outside of his comfort zone. It is just comical enough so that whilst we find him amusing we also get an idea of what kept him going.
What this all boils down to is that "Good Vibrations" is one of those movies which might seem like it should only work for those who are aware of Terri Hooley and the Belfast punk scene of the 70s but in truth thanks to its tone and charm and especially the performance of Richard Dormer it has a much wider appeal.