Following a huge decline in the steel industry, a lot of people in Sheffield found that they’re suddenly un-busy. Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and Dave (Mark Addy) are amongst these people. Like so many others like them, they’re struggling to get by on the dole. Gaz is on the verge of losing his son as he cannot afford joint custody, and Dave is convinced his marriage is over. In a bid to help himself and others, Gaz comes up with the idea of forming a group of strippers for one night only, and sets about holding auditions for his gang. But what’s the difference between a handful of ex-steelworkers taking their kit off, and professionals such as to Chippendale-esque troupe that were in town weeks before? Simple – the steelworkers are going the full monty…
The Full Monty is a proper British film. It’s one of those that takes a look at hard times, and puts a lighter twist on events without you forgetting what initial predicament was that the characters found themselves in. That being said, I can’t help but think this is what Magic Mike would have looked like had it not have had the budget it did.
This was a really good ensemble cast of well known British TV and big screen stars. Robert Carlyle headed up the cast as Gaz, and was the brains of the operation. It was so easy to get behind him because he had so much energy in the role which made you think that he could actually make his plan work. Mark Addy was his partner in crime, Dave, and he portrayed the complete opposite end of the spectrum with his character. You could feel how down Dave was about the whole situation, and how hopeless he felt. This was something that worked well for all the main characters, however. Each one dealt with unemployment differently, and this made them feel believable. This worked wonders for the film in the end, and had it not have been for this I’m not sure it would have been such a success.
The story is one of those that could’ve been based on a true story in the way that you’d struggle to make such a thing up. It’s also one of those that make for fantastic Friday night viewing. There were moments when watching this film that I laughed out loud, and then there were others where I really just stopped to think about what the film was actually about and how this has helped it to stay popular over the years. The point is, no matter how you look at this film, it depicts real life and real people, and the wonderfully odd capers we undertake to get by. The events in this film may or may not have actually happened, but there’s nothing to say that it wouldn’t have been possible. It also takes darker times and shows that even in those times, good things happen, and it is these qualities that can allow a film to be well loved regardless of whether it is one of the greatest films ever made or not.
So, The Full Monty is a good British film – in fact, it could be considered a British classic. I’m surprised it’s taken me until now to see it, but it was worth the wait. Yeah, you’ll see better films, but this is one of those that gives you a nice fuzzy feeling as you watch it, and by the end of it you’ll have a smile on your face. The characters completely fit into the demographic represented by the film, and it’s this, plus the authenticity of the storytelling here, that enables you to buy into it so easily. I’d definitely recommend this one.