Paul Potts biopic One Chance: What the critics think
The premiere of One Chance, the biopic following the life of Paul Potts, was a star studded event attended by stars from Taylor Swift to Julia Roberts.
Rumours have been spreading rapidly leading up to the premiere, which tell of cameo performances in the film from Simon Cowell, Katy Perry and Amanda Holden-but the secrets are out and all there is left to ask is, what did the critics think?
The Independent gave the film three out of five stars, praising the cast for their delivery and humour as well as director David Frankel for his overall form.
However, the shortfall of the film in their opinion comes when Potts appears in Italy next to his idol Pavarotti and an uncomfortably cheesy element is suddenly added.
“The director David Frankel has a patchy track record - The Devil Wears Prada sits alongside The Big Year on his resume - but he must be commended for the superb way he weaves Britain’s Got Talent into his film. He tells the story with broad strokes and doesn’t mind inventing fictions when it helps to move the story along. The film works best when the action plays to Corden’s comedic strengths. He brings out some real belly laughs and his love story with Roach is heart-warming enough to provide plenty of goodwill from the audience when the action veers off course – in Italy.
"When it ends badly and when Paul returns back to Port Talbot, there is another tonal shift. Asked to show his acting chops and play depressed, Corden doesn’t quite hit the mark. The film seems to want to ape the dramatic arc of an opera but it never quite succeeds in this ambition. Still, you don’t need to be a Paul Potts fan to be consumed and amused by this charming tale."
The Guardian’s review claims the facts are heavily dramatised and the film is at its best when the emotional truth of Potts story is reached. A similar disappointment is expressed concerning Potts in Italy, but overall the feel good factor over rules any disapproval and the comedy lifts the opinion of the reviewer to give the film three out of five stars.
“The film shows how Paul didn't sing much, or have many friends, and slaved his way up through the ranks of employment at Carphone Warehouse, under the management of boozy pal Mackenzie Crook (he also was a keen amateur singer, got a degree in humanities and became the youngest member of Bristol City Council in 1996, where he served for seven years). Other setbacks have the dial turned up to 11 in terms of their severity.
"The movie is strongest is when it strips away the facts and focuses on the emotional notes. His courtship of wife Julie-Ann, who he met in a chatroom, is beautifully judged by Corden and Alexandra Roach, and the tough-love of his father (Colm Meany) has a predictable arc but bowls along line-by-line. "Couldn't you just eat him up?" says Walters, ever-indulgent. "You'd need a couple of sittings," snaps back dad.
A sojourn in Italy, with Paul scraping savings to study in Venice, is less convincing, in particular his relations with a lush soprano.
"Director David Frankl had his biggest hit with The Devil Wears Prada, and he's an unlikely but cute match here, big on the insults, keen on the catharsis of flooring a bully. He holds our hero back from TV for as long as possible, which given the difficulty generating tension, feels a good call.”
London Evening Standard also gives 3 out of 5 stars to the biopic, again picking up on the embellishment of facts but justifying that this is mostly for dramatic effect. Once more the comedy which is consistent within the film is focused on and a largely encouraging criticism is reached:
“The talent show raises him to glory. A lot of the facts of Potts's life have been adjusted downwards for greater plangency. He grew up in Bristol, not Port Talbot; his dad was a bus driver, not a steel worker; that tumour was in the adrenal gland, not the thyroid. He wasn’t quite such a nonentity either, with a degree in philosophy, serving as the youngest Bristol councillor for the Lib Dems, etc.
"No matter. This is top Simon Cowell product-marketing, what do you expect? The truth? A lot of the film, especially the courtship of Potts and his Julz, is touching and funny. It works. At the successful Toronto premiere, Potts himself came on stage after the movie and sang Nessun Dorma live, loudly, without any nuance.”