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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Street Cat Named Bob is based on the autobiography of London street performer James Bowen, a recovering heroin addict who gets one last chance to turn his life around when he finds Bob. Things get pretty heavy: The movie deals with homelessness, drug use, overdosing, and death. James (Luke Treadaway) uses the money he makes playing guitar on the street to buy and use drugs and ends up in the hospital. There's also some swearing, including "bulls--t" and "d--k," as well as a fight scene and some scenes of peril. Despite the serious themes, the movie offers a clear message about second chances -- and argues that it's possible to overcome your demons if you have someone to love. Themes also include humility and compassion.
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What's the story?
In A STREET CAT NAMED BOB, James (Luke Treadaway) is an on-again, off-again heroin addict who gets the chance to turn his life around for good when he meets Bob, a stray cat he grows to love. James starts taking Bob with him when he plays guitar around London, and they become a sensation. With Bob at his side, James learns what love and responsibility really mean.
Is it any good?
This is a sweet little film about serious issues. Treadway is believable as James, an addict who's trying to get clean. He picks food out of trash cans and sleeps on the street -- and even though he's an excellent guitar player on the streets of London, he's invisible. A Street Cat Named Bob brings up lots of issues that parents can talk about, including the hazards of homelessness and what can happen if you do drugs (one of James' friends overdoses, and James is hospitalized and finds out he has hepatitis).
The music is good, and Treadaway is a compelling actor and singer. There a few jarring scenes when the camera shoots from Bob's point of view and it almost feels like it's going to become a talking animal movie, but it stays focused on James' story. You end up rooting for him in the end and hoping that he'll stay clean.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does drug use impact those beyond the user/addict?
Do you have pets? What do they bring to your life? Is it easy or hard to believe that having a pet could change someone's life so profoundly?
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