Home A Christmas Gift From Bob

A Christmas Gift From Bob

Cast: Anna Wilson-Jones, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Luke Treadaway, Tim Plester, Nina Wadia
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Garry Jenkins
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Release Date: 06/11/2020
Running Time: 98mins
Country: UK
Year: 2020

James Bowen recalls a bitterly cold winter when the money he earns from busking on the cobbles of Covent Garden barely covers the cost of heating and food for his trust cat Bob. Charity worker Bea and local shop owner Moody support James as he wrestles with self-doubt following an unsettling run-in with animal welfare officers Ruth and Leon.


 

LondonNet Film Review
A Christmas Gift From Bob (PG)

Dedicated to the memory of the eponymous ginger feline, A Christmas Gift From Bob is a life-affirming drama of small and simple pleasures, which celebrates the profound bond between a pet and its human protector. Charles Martin Smith’s sequel to the 2016 drama A Street Cat Named Bob claws the great tradition of festive films that have one eye on the turkey, trimmings and tinsel and the other on tears and tantrums. Heartstrings are plucked merrily by screenwriter Garry Jenkins, who plunders James Bowen’s memoir A Gift From Bob for his narrative framework and garnishes with all the cinematic trimmings: rosy-cheeked carol singers spreading festive cheer, (fake) snow falling on cue and a poignant, handmade present nestled beneath a tree…

All that sugar – and there is plenty – is offset by the bitterness of personal loss (a father memorialising his terminally-ill child at Christmas) and boo-hiss pantomime villainy courtesy of an animal welfare officer, who is determined to separate the four-legged hero from his owner. Elements of the script are malnourished – some supporting characters serve the plot while the reconciliation of one fractured family is rushed and delivers a glancing emotional blow rather than a mighty wallop.

A Christmas Gift From Bob picks up shortly after the first film. James Bowen (Luke Treadaway) attends his publisher’s Christmas party with Bob the Cat (playing himself) perched on his shoulder. His first book is a success and an editor excitedly reminds him that a follow-up is due by early summer. “I’m sure you’ll get an idea soon. They often happen when you least expect it,” smiles Dame Jacqueline Wilson (playing herself), who meets James by the cloakroom as they sneak out early from the festivities. A chance encounter with a homeless man on the streets of London provides James with the creative spark.

In flashback (captioned A Christmas Past) he recalls a bitterly cold winter when the money he earns from busking on the cobbles of Covent Garden barely covers the cost of heating and food for Bob. Charity worker Bea (Kristina Tonteri-Young) and local shop owner Moody (Phaldut Sharma) support James as he wrestles with self-doubt following an unsettling run-in with animal welfare officers Ruth (Pepter Lunkuse) and Leon (Tim Plester).

A Christmas Gift From Bob lacks the emotional grit of the original film – James’s hard-fought battle with heroin addiction – but there are still plenty of reasons to sob. Treadaway is quietly affecting as a survivor, who is blissfully unaware of his positive impact on others much like James Stewart’s suicidal family man in It’s A Wonderful Life. Smith’s sequel doesn’t scale the dizzying heights of Frank Capra’s 1946 festive fable but casts a similarly warm glow by trumpeting the enduring power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

– Kim Hu


London Cinemas Showing A Christmas Gift From Bob


From: Friday 20th November
To: Thursday 26th November

From: Friday 27th November
To: Thursday 3rd December

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing A Christmas Gift From Bob


From: Friday 20th November
To: Thursday 26th November

Annan Lonsdale Cinema

Fri 19:30; Sat 17:00; Sun 15:15; Tue-Thu 13:30

Campbeltown Picture House

Fri 17:30; Sat 15:00; Sun 14:45

Maxime Cinema

Fri 19:30; Sat 19:00; Sun 12:15 16:45; Thu 14:00 19:45

Moray Playhouse

Fri 17:00; Sat 14:00

Pavilion

Sat/Sun 16:20

Public Hall Cinema

Sat/Sun 15:00; Tue 11:00

Reel Cinema Port Talbot

Fri/Mon/Wed/Thu 17:00

Showcase Cardiff Nantgarw

Tue-Thu 12:00 14:50 17:40 20:30

The Gaumont Plaza

Sat/Sun 17:00

The Mallard Cinema, The Mallard Hotel

Fri 16:00; Sat 14:30 16:45; Sun 15:00

From: Friday 27th November
To: Thursday 3rd December

Reel Cinema Port Talbot

17:00 (Sat/Sun) 19:10

Showcase Cardiff Nantgarw

12:00 14:50 17:40 20:30