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4174 views since 6th Apr 2010

Comfort and Joy
- favourite film

Comfort and Joy is certainly not Bill Forsyth ’s best film – that honour belonging to either Gregory’s Girl or Local Hero – but it is still charming, engaging and as fans of the briefly brilliant Scottish writer-director would expect, a little bit surreal with trademark running gags and even a Mark Knopfler score.
The location in Glasgow has none of the beauty of the previous year’s Local Hero, but the plot’s ice-cream sales war needs an urban environment. And it does have going for it a cast as good as its forerunner: Rikki Fulton and Alex Norton (in both films); the lovely Clare Grogan; but inevitably shining brighter than the rest the great Patrick Malahide and Bill Patterson.
Set at Christmas the film delivers a touching story with a hint of menace, a cleverly neat ending, and a tremendous recurring joke regarding the hero’s abused car. But the strange set up of the rest of the story with Patterson’s girlfriend departing is too clunky and abrupt for the film to rank with Forsyth’s very best. Still, Forsyth in the 1980s on an off-day is better than 99 per cent of directors at their best.

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