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Film Reviews Good Vibrations: A feel-good, punk-flavoured biopic set in 1970s Belfast

A scene from Good Vibrations.

3 out of 4 stars

Written by
Colin Carberry, Glenn Patterson
Directed by
Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn
Starring
Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker
Classification
14A
Country
U.K., Ireland
Language
English
Year
2012

Good Vibrations is not about the Beach Boys. At all.

Instead it is a beery, warm-hearted biopic on Terri Hooley, the shaggy idealist and shambolic entrepreneur who in the mid-1970s started up a record shop (and later a plucky record label) in Belfast. Hooley, a pacifist who took no sides in the Troubles of Northern Ireland, believed in the revolutionary power of the seven-inch record and that "any proper record collection should have a track for every moment."

The sound and energy of this likeable film is punk music. Hooley, charmingly portrayed as a laudable but flawed character by Richard Dormer, fosters a nascent scene that gave rise to the Undertones and Rudi and the Outcasts.

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Rather than getting too deep into a study of Hooley, directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn have crafted a feel-good comedy in the soulful vein of The Commitments. It's about the beat and the community – good vibrations, to put it another way.

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