A Christmas Gift From Bob

Certificate: 12A

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Anna Wilson-Jones, Tim Plester, Kristina Tonteri-Young

Release date: 2020

3 out of 5


This seasonal family movie follows on from 2016’s A Street Cat Named Bob, picking up the real-life tale of former homeless addict James Bowen and the stray cat he rescued that helped with his own recovery.

While the first film had a few gritty moments, this is more sentimental as James – now clean and celebrating his first book deal, about his and Bob’s life – recounts the previous Christmas when things weren’t going so well.

Set against the yuletide bustle of London’s Covent Garden and Islington where James busks, often with his ginger cat by his side, this feels as fluffy and cute as Bob on the surface but also depicts how a few small stumbles can easily become something far more serious. A left-on heater uses up all the electricity on James’s meter, an animal protection officer’s over-zealousness could cause James to lose Bob, and the adorable kitty has his own health scare, while there are other threads (some resolved a little quickly or forgotten altogether) that show how tenuous everyone’s situation can be.

Of course, it has a heart-warming ending, lashings of tinsel and Christmas optimism, too. Treadaway once again gives a thoughtful, sweet performance as James, and Bob – played by the real Bob as well as a few stand-in felines – is simply adorable, and the main reason to watch. Sadly, he died a few months after filming finished, so expect to shed a few tears as the end credits roll.

Is A Christmas Gift From Bob suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

This is a 12A certificate in the UK (mainly due to some swearing in the movie) and is better suited to older kids and adults.

As mentioned above, the real Bob died in 2020, so some viewers may be saddened to learn this at the end (the movie is dedicated to him).

There is a scene in which Bob is ill with food poisoning that may upset viewers.

Very young viewers may be upset by the animal protection officers and the threat that Bob may be taken away.

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