One Chance

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
One Chance Movie Poster Image
Sweet, sentimental biopic of British talent show winner.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The triumphant messages are to never give up on your dream and to not allow criticism to stop you from doing what you love. It also encourages children to be honest with their parents about what they want to do with their lives.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Julz is a very supportive girlfriend and then wife. She wants Paul to sing if that's what he wants to do, and she doesn't take kindly to those who criticize him unfairly, even his father on occasion. Paul is a sweet and loving guy who really does have a beautiful voice. But he lacks self-confidence and has trouble believing that he can sing opera professionally.


Paul is bullied as a boy and teen. He's beaten up by mean kids in his class; as adults, the same boys (now men) try to beat him with their fists and a chain until a woman hits the ringleader on the head. Paul ends up in the hospital (fainting spell, beating, getting hit by a car) a few times throughout the film, but each time he recovers.


Mostly kisses and a couple of references to sex (a woman insults her boyfriend as a "perfunctory lover"). Paul kisses Julz but doesn't have sex with her until their wedding night, when he helps her undress and she's shown in a corset as they kiss on the bed. Early in the movie, Paul kisses someone while at an opera seminar, but it's celebratory.


Occasional language is mostly British slang like "tosser," "twat," "prat," "sod off," "prick," and "bugger off," as well as "shite," "arse," etc.


Britain's Got Talent is prominently featured toward the end of the movie. Other mentioned brands or stores include Carphone Warehouse (where Paul works), Burger King, Nokia, Motorola, and other electronics.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking by adults at pubs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that One Chance is an underdog comedy/biopic of Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts (James Corden), who went from being a cell phone salesman to performing at Royal Albert Hall. The Welsh opera singer's story is likely relatively unknown outside the U.K., so appeal among American tweens and teens may not be high. But the movie has laughs, romance (including kissing and a fairly demure wedding night scene), and dramatic tension, even if you know it's going to end with a victory. The main character is bullied both as a child as an adult; he's beaten up and threatened with fists and a chain. He also lands in the hospital a few times but always recovers. The language occasionally includes British slang/curses like "tosser," "sod off," and more, and there's some drinking in pubs. In the end, the movie encourages audiences to follow their dreams, no matter how unlikely they seem.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhaula_taqya April 16, 2019
Kid, 11 years old October 14, 2014

Good, but pretty predictable

Some sexual references, swearing and violence

What's the story?

Paul Potts (James Corden) grew up in South Wales knowing he was different from the other boys. Instead of sports like rugby or soccer, Paul's real passion was always singing -- particularly operatic pieces that made him popular with his school's choirmaster but not so much with the local bullies, who chased and tormented him. As a young adult, Paul works at a local Carphone Warehouse and idolizes opera legend Luciano Pavarotti so much that he saves up to take an exclusive opera workshop that the tenor helps run in Venice. But when Paul's moment comes to sing before the master, he chokes and hears the unthinkable from his idol: He doesn't have what it takes. Depressed and unsure what to do, Paul is nonetheless encouraged by his supportive girlfriend (and then wife) Julz (Alexandra Roach) to keep singing. After overcoming a number of obstacles, Paul finally has a chance to show the world he does have "it" by competing in and winning Britain's Got Talent.

Is it any good?

It's hard to criticize such an earnest story, which follows a man who seems like the kindest, least egocentric winner of any talent competition. Corden, whose singing voice was dubbed by the real-life Potts, does a fine job with the role, which requires him to make a sweet, nerdy, opera singer deserving of a feature-length film. So what is it that makes Paul stand out among all those other fame-hungry contestants? Well, he's actually quite talented, and he's not obsessed with the spotlight so much as expressing himself artistically in the only way he knows how -- through song.

Potts' on-screen support is played by his hilariously lazy store manager Braddon (comedic actor Mackenzie Crook, best known for The Office and Pirates of the Caribbean); his patient, ever-encouraging love, Julz; his loving mother (Julie Walters, once again playing a fierce mama bear); and his father (Colm Meaney), who doesn't understand why Paul can't be content with a mine or factory job like him and his mates. The secondary characters add much-needed spice to the otherwise vanilla story. Even though it's occasionally bland and predictable, there's an adorably winning quality to Corden's portrayal of Potts, so by the time he's on Britain's Got Talent, we're all cheering for him to belt out his aria and prove Pavarotti wrong.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of televised talent shows and their winners. Why is it compelling to see how one of these winners got his start?

  • How is bullying portrayed in the movie? In what ways does the bullying affect Paul as he grows up? Does he overcome the hurt easily? What are the long-term consequences of bullying?

  • How do biographical films about lesser-known people compare to those about legendary historical figures? Do you think this story is more relatable, since it's more contemporary?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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