Eastern Eye (UK)

Perfect performanc­es power simple heart-warming film


WHETHER it is the timely subject of the National Health Service (NHS) being pushed to breaking point by an unforgivin­g government or a stellar cast that sees a young British Asian actor have a prominent role among acting legends, there are a lot of interestin­g aspects associated with Allelujah.

This week’s big cinema release, based on a theatre play by acclaimed writer Alan Bennett, is the simple story of a geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital threatened with closure. Elderly patients seemingly abandoned by their respective families, devoted staff and local community want it to remain open. The two most hardworkin­g staff members are a longservin­g nurse waiting to receive a distinguis­hed honour and an Indian doctor, who gives patients the kind of love family members don’t. There is also someone with government connection­s visiting his elderly father and a film crew trying to capture the best aspects of the beloved ward. It all leads towards a surprising revelation.

The simple but effective movie combines important messages, including the plight of elderly people and strains put on the NHS, with relatable human emotions. The multi-layered movie also has comedy, drama, and heartwarmi­ng moments, including a wonderful scene where a nurse dances with a patient in a wheelchair.

The surprise ending and powerful final scene turn this into a marvellous movie, which remains with you long after the end credits are over.

Apart from the writing, and measured direction, the heartbeat of Allelujah is the beautiful performanc­es. Comedy legend Jennifer Saunders delivers one of the best performanc­es of her distinguis­hed career and the greats playing all the elderly patients add a real warmth. But perhaps the biggest revelation is newcomer Bally Gill in the challengin­g role of a hard-working young Indian doctor, which is filled with humanity.

This is a movie that will make you appreciate life, the elderly and especially a taken-for-granted NHS.


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