Please note that this is a capsule review. Our full review is under embargo until the film’s release date, which is October 25th.
A biopic with a polished look and a sugary-sweet tone, One Chance is the “true story” (with omissions and/or embellishments, of course) of Paul Potts, the inaugural winner of mega-TV hit Britain’s Got Talent.
Paul (played with baby-faced earnestness by James Corden) never really fit in with the other neighbours in his blue collar UK village. While the other boys at school were playing football, he was singing in the church choir and then running home to listen to opera records for hours, trying to perfect his own voice. He was also the object of severe bullying both from his peers and from his own rough-and-tumble father (Colm Meaney), who never really understood his sensitive son.
The film follows Paul as he grows both in stature and in his love for opera, determined to find a way to make singing his career. Along the way he falls in love with the saintly Julie-Ann (Alexandra Roach), suffers a few devastating setbacks (including one that involves Pavarotti) and is continually forced to start back at square one time and time again.
Writer Justin Zackham (The Big Wedding) and director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) do a solid enough job in creating tension in a fairly thin story with a happy ending that most of the audience will already know about walking in. In this case, it’s the journey that’s the most important thing and Potts’ is certainly fairy tale-feeling enough to make One Chance an enjoyable way to spend two hours.