Absolute Beginners

This movie-musical is full of inaccuracies. Or should I say blatant overblown lies. 1958 London was NOT a neon-lit swinging bacchanalic street scene. 1950’s teenagers did NOT wear mini skirts and look like they’re from the wild and swinging sixties. The English working class did NOT have middle-class accents.

And the music! Sade? David Bowie? Style Council? It wouldn’t have been so bad had they even tried to sound like fifties musicians. But the music is pure eighties pop. The dancing is sickeningly modern jazz a la West Side Story. Thugs do synchronized pirhouettes on mean streets – that sort of thing. And so you have a period piece that’s just so overly candy-coated and razzle-dazzled up that what you see on screen bears no resemblance to that period at all.

I’ve read that the book by Colin MacInnes (upon which the film is based) is entirely different. I wonder what HE thought of the film.


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