Based on the true story of Liza Evans who in Carmarthen South West Wales starts a campaign in the 1990s to save the Lyric Cinema/theatre with a true passion for the arts.
In the opening scene we are shown a theatre production of A Streetcar Named Desire by a young group and this was to set the tone of what the Lyric meant to Liz Evans. In the present day (1990s) she has three children of her own and puts on productions with a young theatre group and holds the theatre which is also a cinema so close to her heart.
When the town’s major Tom wants to sell the building/land and turn it into a shopping centre, Liz takes this very badly and attempts to stop the corrupt dealings. The Lyric is a listed building which meant that it could not be sold, unless it was condemned and that was part of the rather evil plan from the major who was going to send in contractors to ensure it was then not fit for use. He had lied to the developers and told them it had already happened.
If it wasn’t for Liz barricading herself within the building then that would have happened very quickly. To begin with though she doesn’t really have a massive amount of support from even her own family and her husband David cannot understand it either. But the harder she fights the more people become on her side and her old teacher Mr Morgan is one of the first to help out. He had actually worked in the cinema before becoming a teacher and tells the story of how watching Goodnight Mr Chips inspired him.
I really think for anyone who loves films, the cinema and theatre will really enjoy this film as it has such lovely messages about the arts at its core. On the back of a massive two year struggle with theatres and cinemas being closed this really does feel like the perfect timing for a film and story to be cherished, more people should fight for the arts.
With the help of Mr Morgan and acquiring some 35mm films they put on a free screening of ‘How Green Was My Valley’ and having the auditorium full and everyone singing was fantastic viewing. This then made people remember how important this cinema was to people, although they would need a film that was a new to really pull in people. This is when Liz decides to write to Steven Spielberg and ask him if they can screen Jurassic Park, explaining the situation of the theatre close to being closed down.
More films should be as feel good as this one and a helpful reminder of how important films are to people. It has some very good moments as well, as we see people change opinions and eventually remember that it is more than just a theatre and has so many years of memories for everyone within the town and a place that can so easily create so many more.
Samantha Morton was terrific in the leading role and I thought she delivered everything with so much passion that it really brought everything to life. Jonathan Pryce is one of my favourites and I thought he was just delightful in his role and you really could believe that he was a former teacher. Tom Felton had a decent role as well, with a nice shift in character. Adele Akhtar was impressive as the villain major!