What You Need To Know:
HUNKY DORY works best when the teacher and the students work on the musical play. When the movie goes outside the classroom, to the students’ personal lives, it becomes too melodramatic. Also, there are too many subplots in HUNKY DORY. The bigger problem, though, is that the movie’s Romantic worldview is a bit politically correct and has more than 75 obscenities. To media-wise moviegoers, HUNKY DORY is not quite – well – hunky dory.
(RoRo, PCPC, Co, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, A, DD, M) Strong Romantic, somewhat politically correct worldview favoring personal expression over rules and tradition, but not in a didactic, in-your-face way, but with an apolitical quote from Communist Karl Marx (“Don’t let the ba***rds get you down”) and one supporting character is a teenage boy struggling with homosexual feelings; about 76 mostly strong obscenities (mostly “f” words) and nine light profanities (such as OMG); some fighting and an arson occurs off screen; no depicted sex scenes but supporting character has homosexual desires, teenage boy asks teenage girl for a “shag” (British slang for fornication), teenage couple makes out on couch with some passionate kissing, and teacher kisses teenage student on the mouth but nothing else happens between them on screen or off screen; upper male nudity in a few scenes and some female cleavage, especially at a community pool; alcohol use; smoking and brief drug references; and, broken families, name-calling, and boy runs away from divorced father to mother but returns to father because of mother’s mean boyfriend.
HUNKY DORY is a British musical with a Romantic view of self-expression. It has some good moments, with a nice use of some famous rock songs, but it’s a little convoluted and overlong. Also, a high school student falls for his teacher, and she kisses him at one point, but this romance goes no further one way or another, so it’s hard to say what exactly the filmmakers were implying by including this plot in their movie. There’s also a homosexual subplot about another boy.
Set in 1976 in South Wales, the movie opens with music teacher Vivienne working with her students while producing a rock music version of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. The musical will feature songs from David Bowie, Electric Light Orchestra, and The Byrds.
Davey, the boy playing Ferdinand, has a crush on Stella, the sultry promiscuous girl playing Miranda. Stella, however, has eyes for a local mechanic. Meanwhile, the boy playing Ariel is having a sexual identity crisis, while the skinhead boy playing Caliban gets teased a lot by a couple of the other boys in the play. Slight complications ensue when Davey begins to transfer his feelings for Stella to Vivienne the teacher. Also, an old-fashioned teacher in the school tries to sabotage the play because she hates Vivienne’s empathetic teaching methods and alleged lax discipline of her students.
Can Vivienne cope with all the problems among her students while countering the criticism of her and the play?
HUNKY DORY works best when the teacher and the students are working on the musical play. When it goes outside the classroom, to the students’ personal lives, it becomes too melodramatic. Also, there are too many subplots in HUNKY DORY. That said, when the movie combines Shakespeare with 1970s rock tunes, it makes viewers really want to see a play like this for real. Quick, someone make a movie musical version of THE TEMPEST! It could be fun if done right.
Content-wise, HUNKY DORY takes a Romantic approach to its story. The teacher, and the movie, is all about personal expression ahead of rules and tradition. Along the way there’s an apolitical quote from Karl Marx – “Don’t let the ba***rds get you down.” Also, the movie encourages the one boy’s homosexual feelings in the typically staid, unimaginative politically correct way that has come to define the moribund, sanctimonious ideology of the liberal left. Finally, when Davey expresses his feelings for his teacher, she gives him a kiss on the lips but nothing happens after that. At the end credits, however, it becomes clear that neither Davey nor the teacher pursued any relationship. So, the inclusion of this subplot doesn’t even make sense.
Sadly, HUNKY DORY has a lot of strong foul language, more than 75 obscenities. Because of the foul language, and the movie’s worldview problems, MOVIEGUIDE® believes HUNKY DORY is unacceptable viewing. To media-wise moviegoers, HUNKY DORY is not quite – well – hunky dory.