Nothing beats a rock’n’roll film – from A Hard Day’s Night to Wayne’s World, films about the music that has shaped us can’t help but get the heart rate up and the sweat pumping. Good Vibrations’ plot is by-the-numbers, but the location itself sets up a rich proposition, where buying records meant risking the streets of Belfast at the height of The Troubles.
Terri Hooley is the charismatic centre of this story about a music-obsessed beatnik who opens a record shop smack bang in the middle of riots and bombs. At first a member of the reggae-obsessed remnants of seventies socialists, everything changes when Hooley discovers punk, and among them The Undertones. Everyone loves stories about a mad bastard, and everyone loves the song Teenage Kicks – anyone who says otherwise has never heard it before or is an arsehole – and you know this film hits the mark when you find yourself fighting back tears the legendary moment when, lifting the stylus and setting it back to the start of the 7” single, John Peel announces on his radio show that the aforementioned song is so wonderful he’s going to play it again.
Good Vibrations is a warm, heartfelt, brutally honest film about a time in the not so recent past when a part of the world was tearing itself apart. It’s got wonderful performances, and just enough artistry in the direction to make this a worthy music biopic.
Good Vibrations screened as part of the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival. Click here for all of our reviews from MIFF 2013.