Review: The Bromley Boys

Genre: Comedy, Sport.
Starring: Alan Davies, Martine McCutcheon, Adam Deacon, Jamie Foreman, Tomi May, Brenock O’Connor, Savannah Baker, Ewen MacIntosh, Tom Owen, Daniel Hill, Lucy-Jane Quinlan.
Year Of Release: 2018
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Director: Steve Kelly
Writer(s): Warren Dudley
Synopsis: “A boy, a girl, and the worst football team in Britain. You can’t choose who you’re going to fall in love with.” IMDB

 

 

“The Bromley Boys”, tells the story of David “Dave” Roberts (Brenock O’Connor) and his love affair with his local football team Bromley F.C. We start in 1966 with England winning the World Cup and young Dave falling madly in love with the sport right afterwards. His passion for the game manifests in his desire to attend some live matches at one of the big teams, his parents, more specifically his Dad, Donald (Alan Davies) is against the idea. His Mum, Gertie (Martine McCutcheon) comes up with the idea of attending local small, very small in comparison, Bromley F.C. Reluctant at first Dave decides to take his mum up on the offer and that’s where his passion flourishes. During his time attending the matches, he meets Ruby McQueen the daughter of the owner of the football club who he begins to fall for.

“The Bromley Boys”, tells the story of how Dave falls madly in love with the beautiful game and how he deals with his first love.

Brenock O’Connor who plays Dave in the film is one of the most lovable and endearing characters I have seen a while. O’Connor plays the character perfectly, he oozes that teenage wonder of falling in love with your first football team (which is infinitely relatable for a lot of us UK watchers). O’Connor does so well to split his falling in love with two vastly differing entities and make them feel like two different emotions- but also the same. I know that doesn’t make sense but when you see how he loves Bromley FC and how he loves Ruby McQueen (Baker). Savannah Baker who plays Ruby equals O’Connor in her teenage wonder of falling in love. It helps that they are both in their teens, but it takes talent to make first love feel real, when they are conversing with each other you genuinely feel like you’re watching a young couple and not a pair of actors, Baker plays Ruby in a nervous, standoff-ish kind of way, you could almost say she’s the stereotypical “nerdy teen” which plays well against the slightly cocky Dave.
Playing Dave’s parents we have Martine McCutcheon as Gertie, his Mum and Alan Davies as Donald, his Dad. They both play their roles wonderfully, and you would expect nothing less from two incredibly talented actors who rarely put in anything but a solid performance, Davies plays a very closed off emotionally parent in regards to Dave’s footballing passion with good reason we later find out. Dave has his own little football going crew with Ewen MacIntosh as Derek Dobson, who is as incredibly funny as he always is. He is such a delight to watch – he has the British dry humour down to science his delivery shines every time I see him. Mark Dymond as Peter Batchelor tries to keep everything in line which he does well. The crew is rounded off by TJ Herbert who plays Roy Oliver, the less stable one of the crew, who is the ultimate wild card, which Herbert hilariously pulls off. Jamie Foreman plays the owner of Bromley FC Charlie McQueen, an overly cocky, self-gratifying rich guy who thinks he’s a little bit better than everybody else, which Foreman’s nails. For the most part, McQueen is the chairman all us football fans have loathed at one point but he also has really endearing moments too. It’s always a pleasure to see Lucy-Jane Quinlan in a Warren Dudley film – sadly it’s a much smaller role than usual but she plays school bully Emelda well enough for you to notice given the minuscule screen time.

The best part of this entire film is the story. It is one that majority of men have been through, and boys are currently going through, across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. I am sure there are plenty of girls who are going through it now too. Falling in love with your first football club and you don’t care if you’re there with 60,000 people or 30 people. That is what this film gets it spot on. It is written in such a way that you can pick up Dave, throw him away and put yourself in his boots (quite literally) and you feel every single emotion he is going through. The dialogue, while at some points may sound a little cheesy (it’s a coming-of-age story, it’s a must), for the most part, it feels like real life conversations. My main worry when the film started, with it being set 20 years before I was born, was a little niggle in the back of my head that said: “what if I can’t relate to the time period?”. Those fears are wiped away in the opening scene when Dave is being a regular teenager that anybody can relate to. The story is told in such an inclusive way that you can be 10 years old or 100 years old and you will still be drawn into this story. It’s real, it’s raw, it perfectly encapsulates life as football fan and life as a teenager falling in love for the first time, be it with football or your first love (which for some of us is football). A lot of that lies on the shoulders of screenwriter Warren Dudley who adapted David Roberts’ (yep, that one up there^^^) book “The Bromley Boys: The True Story Of Supporting The Worst Football Team In Britain” into a very well polished script, that director Steve Kelly (City Rats) brings it all to life with such vigour you feel like you are a part of Dave’s struggle to support his club through such a tough time.

The film excels at dropping you into the 1960’s, from the era-appropriate clothing to the classic cars. Not only is the film a love letter to the beautiful game, but you can also tell the production had a lot of fun recreating the 1960’s on screen for us all to revel in. The use of classic cars was such a nice touch it gives off the air of money you still expect from football even at the lower levels. One thing it doesn’t do though is making my slightly younger-self long for 1960s attire. Yeesh.
Overall, the film is a heart-warming tale of passion and first love coming together. If you’re a football fan you will be in your element from the opening scenes and thoroughly enjoy this love letter to the beautiful game. If you aren’t a fan, just stick around and you may change your mind by the end of the film.

It’s real, it’s relatable, it’s hilarious… it’s just a downright a great 90 minutes of cinema. “The Bromley Boys” is the ultimate story of one boy and his love for the worst football team in Britain and it is absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the best coming-of-age stories I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and I don’t see it dropping out of my top 10 films by the end of the year. If you get the chance to check this out on the big screen I plead, scratch that, I implore you to rush to see it. This is the type of film that when seen with a crowd of people passionate about the same thing will result in one of the best cinema-going experiences of the year. All that being said, the film just leaves you feeling all warm, fuzzy and just high on life and spurs you on to follow your passions.

9/10

Chris "The Boss" Wilson

Chris is a self confessed movie junkie, his favourite film is A Nightmare On Elm Street, yes the 84 version obviously!

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