Currently streaming in the UK via Sky/NOW, as well as playing in select cinemas, is the British family drama, Save the Cinema. The film – set in Wales in 1993 – tells the tale of a youth theatre leader, and her fight to save a Listed building from demolition.
In the movie, Liz Evans is a full-time hairdresser and part-time youth theatre leader, living in Carmarthen. She cuts hair by day, and spends her free time overseeing a group of youngsters, who love putting on productions.
For many years, Liz has organised various shows with the local kids, all of which have been held at a nearby Art Deco building, known as the Lyric. However, Liz soon discovers her latest production is set to be the Lyric’s last, after the local council vote to close the building, to make way for a new shopping centre.
Desperate to save the well-worn property, Liz formulates a plan: If she can make the townsfolk care enough about the Lyric, then perhaps people power can overturn the council’s decision. But will Liz’s efforts bear fruit, or is the Lyric destined to shut its doors for good?
Directed by Sara Sugarman, Save the Cinema stars Samantha Morton, Jonathan Pryce, Tom Felton, and Adeel Akhtar. The movie is based on a true story, and provides a dramatized account of the real-life fight to save the Lyric.
The movie places the spotlight on Liz and her position within the community, as well as her battle with the council. It looks at her relationship with her family, her passion to save the building, and her determination to never give up.
Did I enjoy this movie? Yes indeed.
Save the Cinema is bright, breezy, and a treat of a picture. It is a feel-good film, loaded with heart, and the overriding sentiment that one person can make a difference.
Save the Cinema isn’t going to change the face of movies, nor will it ever receive the title of ‘Greatest British film’ (since the last one), but it doesn’t need to, because this movie is a delightful little picture. It presents a heart-warming tale, based on an uplifting story, all bolstered by a fine central performance.
Taking the lead in this movie is Samantha Morton, who plays the role of Liz Evans. As is always the case with Morton, she embodies her part effortlessly and provides a down-to-Earth, likeable presence in the movie.
This film doesn’t live or die by Morton’s performance, but she is very much a key component. Had this bit of casting been off, it could have robbed the movie of something special.
Morton understands her role and understands her importance in telling this tale. She becomes the focal point, and the ace up the film’s sleeve.
But she isn’t the only selling point – one of the movie’s strengths, and perhaps the reason I like Save the Cinema as much as I do, is that it feels like a Brit film through-and through. Save the Cinema has a lot of British charm, as well as character, and a quaint feel to it, and as a Brit myself it is something delightful to see.
The movie also provides a timely reminder that individuals can make big changes, and bringing people together is incredibly important. In light of the pandemic, as well as the turbulent political landscape that we currently find ourselves in, this all feels very relevant.
I do feel this movie could benefit from a touch more humour, and possibly a little more peril to increase the stakes, but regardless of this I’m happy to take this film as it is. It’s nice, and sometimes that’s enough.
Save the Cinema is a solid, non-offensive movie, with the power to cheer up a miserable day. If you’re feeling down, or you’re still trying to shrug off the January blues, this film is most certainly one for you.