Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday December 3, 2019 


SYNOPSIS: When recovering drug addict James Bowen (Luke Treadaway) finds an injured ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his shelter accommodation, he christens him Bob and nurses him back to health. When he sends Bob on his way, he never imagines he'll ever see him again - or that the two of them will become inseparable through adventures that transform both their lives. (Based on a true story.)

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The cat will get you in every time ... Bob the Cat is now a superstar, with a book and now a film about him ... and yes, it's also about his adopted friend, the human James Bowen (Luke Treadaway), the second fiddle. From the poster and marketing blurb we can assume the film is a warm, uplifting and cute story about their friendship. It is those things, and it is also a redemption story and a story of reconciliation. Bob is wonderfully photographed to make sure we understand his every glance and paw movement, so that he does indeed become a character in the film, not just a stray who sticks to - and sticks by - his new buddy, the homeless, hopeless and hapless James.

But it wouldn't be a story without some ups and downs, not in their firm friendship, but in James' awkward, damaged life. He can't even sell The Big Issue without getting into trouble, unfairly, as it happens. But life is not fair to James as a rule. He has demons and history, a broken family and a nasty habit ... but Bob comes along and soon so does the neighbor at his emergency accommodation, the lovely and lively Betty (Ruta Gedmintas). She, too, is suffering in the aftermath of drug addiction, but not her own.

Being a true story, the movie does not take the predictable path to redemption and happily ever after-ing, although it does promise that. The humanity of support personnel such as the dedicated Val (Joanne Froggatt) adds greatly to the positive mood of the film, and the limited scenes of desolation and devastation that drugs can cause are thus balanced out.

There are some scenes that over-egg the situation and there are unnecessary interstitial moments that stand in the way of a crisp story, but you can't squawk at a film which keeps Bob the Cat in close ups long enough to make you feel he's a friend ... not just a star.

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(UK, 2016)

CAST: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans, Caroline Goodall, Tony Jayawardena

PRODUCER: Adam Rolston

DIRECTOR: Roger Spottiswoode

SCRIPT: Tim John, Maria Nation (book by James Bowen, Garry Jenkins)


EDITOR: Paul Tothill

MUSIC: David Hirschfelder


RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 9, 2017

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019