Starring: James Corden, Alexandra Roach, Julie Walters
Director: David Frankel
Running Time: 103 mins
One Chance is a British film about the story of Paul Potts, an everyman with an unexpected gift for singing who, despite mockery and protestations from those in his small hometown, went on to compete and take victory in Britain’s Got Talent.
You’d think that a cheesy inspirational film about a Britain’s Got Talent winner starring James Corden would be plainly insufferable, but you’d be wrong. One Chance, for all of its tropes, is actually a really lovely movie, with wonderful performances, delightful music and a nice, down-to-earth emotional core that delivers its many clichés with real heart.
If you were around at the time he won Britain’s Got Talent, you’ll remember the story of Paul Potts, but One Chance fortunately delves much deeper into the man’s life than just his rise through the TV talent show that we saw for real a few years back.
While dramatic license of course comes into the mix time and time again, One Chance makes a really likable everyman out of Potts, and fosters a thoroughly relatable environment out of his hometown and all the people around him as he tries to reveal his love for opera singing among what initially appears as rather hostile surroundings.
In the lead role, James Corden gives what might be his best performance on film, doing away with the irritatingly showy tropes he’s since become known for, and delivering a mellow, generally understated and entirely lovable turn as Paul Potts, endearing you entirely to the main character to the point that you really do want to will him on to success in his push to be a great singer.
There are times when One Chance, as lovely as it is, gets a little too big for its boots – the side stories that take Potts over to an opera school in Venice – where he meets none other than Pavarotti – aren’t really that interesting, and don’t add the obstacles for Potts to overcome that the film hopes they will.
But for the most part, this is a wonderfully down-to-earth film that combines awfully cheesy tropes with really lovable drama and characters, telling a touching and inspirational story that goes down really sweetly from start to finish. So, that’s why I’m giving One Chance a 7.4 overall.