Based on the bestselling book of the same name, this drama is the true story of James Bowen (Treadaway), a recovering drug addict and homeless man whose life is transformed after he adopts a stray ginger cat.
Estranged from his middle class dad (Anthony Head), James has been living on the streets and busking to earn enough to eat. Given a home by social worker Val (Froggatt) and a job selling The Big Issue outside London tube stations as part of his recovery, James discovers a cat in his flat one day and adopts him, naming him Bob. The pair are soon inseparable, with Bob accompanying James to work and becoming something of a sensation, perching on his friend’s shoulders while he sells magazines and busks in Covent Garden.
An odd mix of rehab drama, social commentary and cute cat movie, A Street Cat Named Bob ends up as something of a muddle, albeit one with a warm (and furry) heart. Treadaway is very watchable and likeable as Bowen while Bob (playing himself with the aid of some stunt cats) is utterly adorable, giving the best cat performance in a movie (is there an award for that? there should be…) since Jones in Alien.
Unfortunately, it’s far too gritty for younger viewers – so while kids may be familiar with Bowen and Bob thanks to the junior book versions of their story (Bob: No Ordinary Cat, My Name Is Bob, Bob To The Rescue), parents should be advised that it’s not suitable for under-10s, especially during the scenes where it goes all Trainspotting during Bowen’s realistic detox. Equally, those grown-ups who have seen the movie’s trailers and are expecting a Dolphin Tale/Free Willy type family pet drama will be in for a bit of a shock, too – one of James’s friends overdoses, and if it wasn’t for the purring ray of sunshine that is Bob, parts of this drama would be pretty bleak indeed.
Let’s hope Bob gets his own spin-off, family friendly TV series soon.
Is A Street Cat Named Bob suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Due to the mentions of drugs (and showing one person OD-ing), the depiction of detoxing, and some swearing, this is a 12A certificiate movie and is not suitable for younger children.