Wow! This is a very powerful and emotive film.
After watching this film, I didn’t know whether to be angry, cry, laugh or smile, to be honest it was a mix of all four!
The main character is a woman called Kate (Shirley Henderson) who trades in her job as a Sociology teacher to become a Social Worker for her own personal reasons which is disclosed later in the film.
The film starts with scenes from the London riots with ‘selfie’ style footage of Jamie (Letitia Wright) and Leanne bragging about looting shops and all the ‘gear’ they’ve got being filmed on a mobile phone camera.
Take a look at the trailer…
During a staff meeting the agenda turns to Jamie needing a new Key Worker as the last one is off sick with exhaustion, Kate volunteers after witnessing the reluctance of her colleagues to step up to the task
Kate has a love for singing and is a dedicated choir member, so when she overhears Jamie’s amazing singing voice she hopes it’s a shared interest that can help them bond, but the problem is her ‘shadow’ Leanne.
Leanne played brilliantly by Isabella Laughland, is stuck by Jamie’s side, like a dog to a bone. To say Leanne is a bad influence would be an understatement!
She speaks for Jamie, makes decisions for Jamie and generally tells Jamie what to do – she is very controlling and Jamie who knows that Leanne always ‘has her back‘ is extremely loyal.
Leanne is like a guard dog, which makes getting to know Jamie so difficult for Kate.
After an incident, Leanne gets herself sent to prison which gives Jamie and Kate some space to get to know each other.
Kate encourages Jamie to attend her choir and after learning more about Jamie’s past story, offers opportunities that could change Jamie’s life for the better.
All is going well…then Leanne is released…
The job takes it’s toll on Kate and her relationship with her husband, who believes she’s getting too involved with Jamie and for all the wrong reasons, and also with Jamie, as all her hard work seems to be coming undone now that Leanne is back to influence Jamie.
I love the way that the film shows us the story from both Jamie and Kate’s points of view, so we get to understand the reasons behind their behavior and reactions – we see the pressures that both are under.
The film brings up issues that we are facing today in London, UK and the Western World.
- How much should we help others?
- Are ‘Do-gooders‘ just busy bodies or nosy people?
- Do some people genuinely want to help others?
- Should we get involved in other’s problems, in spite of our own safety?
Amongst other questions…
During the film I questioned Jamie’s gratitude to Kate’s efforts, but quickly remembered her background and understood why her barriers would be up.
This film is a realistic portrayal of a teenage girl in care who is about to turn 18 and leave the security of the care system and live independently without any family to speak of, holding onto the only loyal friendship she has ever known, even though she knows this friendship is not good for her, she wonders ‘What choice have I got? This is just the way it is’ The question is – is it? Does it really have to be like this?
Why not judge for yourself?
Urban Hymn is out in UK Cinemas from 30th September 2016
A fantastic film – Whatever emotions you feel, I guarantee it will be more than one!
I love it when British films are this good & so proud of this talented almost all-female cast 😀