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REVIEW: ‘One Chance’ inspires bullying victims to chase their dreams

Paul Potts’s biggest dream is to become an opera singer. His entire life he has lived, dreamed and breathed opera – from the posters on his walls to the music continually sounding in his ears. In Potts’s mind, life is an opera, and his opera’s climax is just over the horizon.

Based on a true story, “One Chance,” directed by David Frankel, follows the life of shopkeeper Paul Potts, an awkward, nervous man constantly bullied for his size and love of opera. By all outward appearances, Potts seems destined for a life of disappointment and emptiness, yet he dreams of so much more.

In a world where mediocrity is all too often the norm, Potts is brave enough to take a different path. From cell phone seller to recording opera singer, Potts is living proof anyone can prove the naysayers wrong and reach their dreams.

Besides the enveloping plot, character development was a great strength in the film. The actors were all fantastic – from the stars to the minor roles and the chemistry between characters is undeniable.

Potts, played by actor James Corden, immediately grabs the hearts of the audience with his lovable nature. You can’t help but celebrate with him when he succeeds and sympathize when he falls.

Then there’s the wonderful connection between Potts and his wife-to-be, Julie-Ann Cooper, played by Alexandra Roach. The couple was perfectly paired, making it easy to believe their deep love for one another. Based on their chemistry onscreen, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they were a couple in real life.

The only problem in the characters was the development of Potts’s father. The role was very well-acted for the first three quarters of the film, but the sudden, drastic shift from dream crusher to proud and supportive father at the end of the film left the audience scratching their heads, wondering what had so suddenly changed his attitude.

There were other development and pacing problems in the film as well. At the beginning, everything seemed to move way too fast, as if Potts’s life was being fast-forwarded. Then towards the middle it slowed to a standstill, only to again speed up and completely fly past the resolution of the film, leaving the audience with a sense of incompleteness.

With so much heartache throughout the film, it would have been nice to be allowed to bask in Potts’s success for just a couple of minutes. Instead, it was almost an afterthought, as if the focus of the film was on his failure rather than his success.

Overall, though, the film was very enjoyable. It’s a classic rags-to-riches tale, but with a fresh twist. You’ll leave the theater feeling uplifted and inspired, ready to tackle life’s latest challenges.

This film was first released in Ireland and the United Kingdom, so it contains language and jokes that may pass over the average American viewer’s head. Still, there are plenty of universal laughs sprinkled throughout the film, so a viewer looking for a light-hearted, feel-good movie won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like to see this heart-warming film for yourself, “One Chance” comes to US theaters Dec. 27.

-Alina Tichacek

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