FILM REVIEW: In Love with Alma Cogan

PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 October 2012

Catrine Kirkman as Alma in the dressing room at Cromer Pier Pavilion. Picture: CAPRIOL FILMS

Catrine Kirkman as Alma in the dressing room at Cromer Pier Pavilion. Picture: CAPRIOL FILMS


The “extra factor” is both an attraction and distraction when watching a movie shot on your local doorstep.

Letting the plot and characters wash over you during this Cromer-based romantic comedy drama is constantly interrupted by flashes of “oh there’s Jeremy in the audience”, or “that’s a cottage in New Street.”

But setting those aside, this is quintessentially British film about a tired seaside pier theatre and its equally tired manager having to make changes to face the future.

Local star Roger Lloyd Pack is the central character as the stuck-in-a-rut manager Norman with strong links to the town, its people and lifeboat - fending off the efforts of a laptop-clutching bureaucrat, and theatrical agents with murky pasts, seeking to inject some new acts and audiences into the venue.

He plays it with simmering passion and strong principles beneath his world weary countenance, and a credible Norfolk accent.

There are strong supporting performances from big name supporting actors Niamh Cusack and Keith Barron as his friends and allies - and a jacket-sparkling cameo spot from John Hurt as a seaside show host.

The storyline of a council bringing in new managers to boost audience numbers on a traditional pier will resonate with locals.

And if farther-flung viewers look beyond the out of season greyness of some of the shots of Cromer, the movie will hopefully be a good reminder of its role as seaside resort striving to go forwards while retaining its historic roots.

The action shots of the lifeboat are also good PR for the RNLI and its local crew.

The everydayness of the action is at the heart of the film’s charm - so the less-than-believable scenes involving stripping crab fishermen, and a council chief enjoying some 50 Shades feather and rope fun stretched credibility a bit.

But this is a film worth seeing on several levels - a good story, strong acting, a happy ending, and the “spot the locals” competition.

● Have you seen the film? What did you think of it? Add your comments below.

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