Star rating - 9/10
Good Vibrations has to be one of the most 'feel good' films about a civil war situation ever made. It is a joyous mix of youthful optimism; wild idealism; crazy expectations; great music; all mixed with some serious politics. Northern Ireland in the late 1970's was not a great place to live, to put it mildly, and everyone had to take a side in the 'Troubles'. Everyone that is except Terri Hooley, who came from a communist background courtesy of his father, but wanted nothing more than to set up a record shop in the middle of Belfast, where everyone else was trying to escape from to get away from the constant bombings and violence.
This film is the story of his shop, Good Vibrations, and the devoted following of disaffected youths he accidentally acquired via the medium of punk rock. Hooley believed passionately that music could heal some of the deep divisions in his community, and was not afraid to stand up to any of the opposing factions to put his case across. Richard Dormer is excellent as the one eyed rebel with a serious cause. One of the funniest and best lines of the film comes as Terri is getting extremely annoyed by the RUC harassing youths for underage drinking in a club. 'Excuse me officer, I'd like to report a civil war outside' is his brilliant acerbic put down to the policeman.
Hooley accidentally falls into record production, and lots of local bands come to beg him to put their punk anthems on vinyl in his DIY ramshackle operation. One of the most famous of all is the Undertones, whose Teenage Kicks wows Hooley and then guru and indeed godfather of the punk cause John Peel. The music is wonderful, and is very cleverly interspersed with just enough politics to put it all into its serious and often deadly context.
Directors Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa manage to get across how likeable a character Holey is, without over sentimentalising him. Jodie Whittaker is touching as his loving but long suffering wife Ruth. In the main it captures the period details brilliantly - except for a wonderfully dodgy wig sported by Adrian Dunbar. This is a life affirming and uplifting film, for people like myself for whom it will bring back great, and not so great memories alike; and also for a new generation of film goers for whom punk rock is a bit of a mystery (excuse the Toyah pun...)