The Full Monty (1997) – Peter Cattaneo

I remember the first time I saw The Full Monty and how much I laughed and got emotionally involved with the film. I haven’t watched it in the better part of two decades so I was quite happy to sit down and watch it again.

Robert Carlyle stars alongside Mark Addy, Tom Wilkinson, Steve Huison, Paul Barber, and Hugo Speer as six out of work blokes in Sheffield. They’ve all been on the dole, trying to make ends meet, going to Job Club, interviews when they can wrangle them, but life seems to have passed them by, and their self-confidence has taken a knock or two because of it.

On top of that Gaz (Carlyle) is having problems making his support payments to his ex, Mandy (Emily Woof), for his son, Nate’s (Wim Snape).

Nate loves his dad, but one strange idea after another seems to keep Gaz from making anything of himself. And when he sees a bunch of the local ladies going to a Chippendale show, he either hits on the dumbest or best idea ever.

For one night, and one night only, as he just wants to raise enough money to earn back time with his son, he and six others, who all audition for the chance, will strip, right down to the full monty. That is if they can find the right music, the right moves, the right venue, and the self-confidence to pull themselves up by their g-strings.

Filled with heart, great music, some truly laugh out loud, and poignant moments of men struggling not only with their looks, but their age and body shape, The Full Monty is a joyous film that has easily stood the test of time, and makes for absolutely delightful watching.

While Carlyle shines as Gaz, Addy’s performance as Dave really resonates, he’s a man struggling with his weight, and because of it has some shame, and wonders who would possibly want to see him dance. But if Dave can do it, surely all of them can do it this one time.

Laughs, music, and some truly emotional moments have allowed this film to endure, and honestly, I forgot how amazingly good this one really is.

I remember when this one first hit home video, I don’t think it ever played any of the theatres in Kingston, I was absolutely delighted with it, and had to share it with everyone I knew. I swear on the weekend of its release I watched it about four times, and loved every single screening.

It’s an uplifting celebration of a movie that still makes me smile some twenty-five years (!) on. It’s gone on to inspire a stage musical, and has made a lasting impact on British film (and bringing it to North America).

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