Gabriel & Me (2001, Iain Glen, David Bradley)

Poster for the movie "Gabriel & Me"
84 min - Drama - 1 November 2001
Our rating:

Daydreamer Jimmy Spud (Sean Landless) lives an unrewarding life with his unemployed dad (Iain Glen), waitress mum (Rosie Rowell) and Socialist pigeon-fancying grandpa (David Bradley). Aspiring to more than the cycle of unemployment and boredom, the 11-year-old decides to contact the Archangel Gabriel and apply for a job as his apprentice. Soon after he is visited by an apparition (Billy Connolly) who encourages his interest, leading Spud to practice flying and wear robes.

Angered at his son's inability to like football and girls, Spud's dad despairs, and worries about his increasingly poor health. When the doctor diagnoses cancer, Spud gets the chance to earn his wings, or realise the foolishness of a childhood obsession…

Yes, you've seen a film about a Tyneside teenager searching for meaning and believing in the power of change. It was called Billy Elliott , and written by Lee Hall, whose previous script forms the basis for this similar-on-the-surface project. Yet Gabriel & Me is different, aiming for Capra-esque magic and fantasy while simultaneously searching for profundity. It works thanks to Landless (so far denied the fame awarded to Jamie Bell), who makes Spud so much more than an effete waster.

Connolly - who was compared to Fight Club's Tyler Durdern rather than Wonderful Life's benevolent Clarence - grabs the best lines, while Glen also steals scenes as the typically taciturn northerner, reinforcing the belief that here's a film not obsessed with weakening cliché, but reinforcing it. Hall objected to Prasad's reworking of his story, and disowned the project. He may like to rethink, for the film has numerous high points wrapped around a solid story. But for real sacrifice look no further than Landless, who gleefully wore a dress but went through true pain with one scene, having to don the strip of his arch enemies, Newcastle United, for the sake of his art.

Director:  Udayan Prasad
Production Companies: 

Release Date:  1 November 2001

Running Time:  1 h 24 min

Genres: Drama


Budget and Box Office takings where known