Making the Grades
Release Date: USA Wide: 29 August 2014 / USA Limited: 7 February 2014
Paul Potts (played by James Corden) was born with a big voice, and a body to match. Encouraged by his mother (Julie Walters), he follows his heart and learns to sing opera. Unfortunately, it turns out not everyone appreciates his love of the classic art form. His father (Colm Meaney) finds his passion an embarrassment. His peers tease and bully him (including kicking, punching and beating him with a bike chain). Nevertheless, Paul continues to sing.
However, all the harassment has injured his self-esteem. Working as a salesman for a cell phone company, he is too shy to even introduce himself in person to Julz (Alexandra Roach), a girl he met on-line over a year ago. So his co-worker (Mackenzie Crook) arranges the meeting for him. And it is her faith in him that finally coaxes Paul to begin to pursue his secret desire for a career on the stage.
Yet his budding ambition is continually plucked away by increasingly difficult obstacles. A chance to attend Opera School in Italy only exposes his lack of confidence. Then an opportunity to sing the lead part in a local production of Aida is curtailed by health issues. Finally, he gets a chance to audition for an up-and-coming talent show, but his unused voice has very little time to get back into condition for the performance.
Anyone familiar with the real Paul Potts and his appearance on Britain’s Got Talent will find themselves waiting for the happy ending they know is coming in this based-on-a-true-story movie. Still, the journey is well worth the wait. The screenwriter (Justin Zackham) has created a tender love story between Paul and Julz, and an inspirational tale out of his struggle to achieve his goal.
Although the script does include some profanities, crude sexual language and frequent drinking, there is something powerful about this quiet man’s ability to rise above the violence of his youth and the disappointments of his life. While not everyone is lucky enough to have his or her dreams come true in such a dramatic way, there is still a lot to learn from Paul’s dogged determination. And perhaps his true gift isn’t just a matter of his talent, but also the sustaining power he received from his loved ones. If so, that is something all of us (whether singers or not) can aspire to both give and receive.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about One Chance.
Paul Potts talks with UK’s Telegraph about One Chance, the film based on his life story.