England Is Mine (2017)

Jessica Brown Findlay, Jodie Comer, Jack Lowden, Simone Kirby,
A portrait of [link=nm0973541] and his early life in 1970s Manchester before he went on to become the lead singer of seminal alternative rock band [link=nm3058944].
  • 5.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • William Thacker, Writer:
  • Mark Gill, Director:
  • Baldwin Li, Orian Williams, Producer:


8 / 10

One for the fans

At last, a musical biopic that doesn't throw in cheap references, nor equally cheap laughs, and instead gives us a sober, realistic and not always warm character study of the formative years of one of Britain's best loved singer-songwriters. But be warned - if you have no interest in Steven Patrick Morrissey, indeed if you have a passing love for the band and aren't too bothered in learning how he came up with the lyrics that he did, then much of ENGLAND IS MINE might not do a lot for you. This film is definitely one for the proper fans, and for those of us in that position it's a real treat.

Lots to love about this one. Jack Lowden might not look a lot like Morrissey but he gets across very well the sense of alienation and perpetual disappointment that surrounds our hero. He's bored and unfulfilled with every aspect of his life, feeling like there's something more out there and yet too shy and not forthcoming enough to go after it. That lack of belonging is something many young people experience - I know I did - and Morrissey is kind of the Dean of that time in life, and Lowden nails it. His friendship with Linder (fantastic Jessica Brown Findlay) shows him finding a rare kindred spirit, and he reacts to the lost chance of success he arrives at briefly with Adam Lawrence's Billy Duffy by doing what we would all like to and retreating to his bedroom.

The period detail is excellent - you get the vision of late 70s/early 80s Manchester as a bit of a dive, crammed with lost souls and angry voices, from which Morrissey feels entirely apart. Lovely touches, like the cracked, single pane windows upon which rain hammers, add to to reality.

The choice of musical numbers is another bonus. There are no Smiths tracks, given the tale essayed here takes place before the band was formed. Instead we get the 1960s songs that heavily influenced the group's sound, and that's a real bonus. The era before the Smiths existed really feels like another place, another time, bereft of something that they ended up filling. One nice bit of detail, the local venue that exhibits posters for an upcoming Duran Duran concert while Morrissey and Marr (Laurie Kynaston, not in it much) start hammering out the more localised and altogether grittier music and lyrics that would eventually form the Smiths, a great snatch of visual storytelling that the film stuffs in.

And if you aren't interested in that, there's the gallows humour of young Mozzer to enjoy, an acerbic wit that would put people off and yet find expression in his words put to Marr's tunes.

5 / 10

An interesting character study of a pre-Smiths Morrissey.

I was lucky enough to attend the world premier of this at the Edinburgh Film festival closing gala. Now to the actual movie. The story is focused on Morrissey towards the end of the 70s and the struggles he had trying to get his first foot on the ladder as a performer while at the same time being paralyzed with fear of being on stage and dealing with his everyday struggles. In the movie he comes across as a hyper sensitive and shy person but with an underlying streak of arrogance in his own belief in his abilities,despite his lack of confidence in social situations. However the acerbic one liners you would expect from Morrissey are there and when they arrive they are genuine laugh out loud funny. If Smiths fans were hoping to see a film which has a lot of Smiths music in it they will be disappointed. Its similar to the James Brown biopic there's none of the music you may have anticipated being part of the story, which may be a problem for some fans. What we do hear is mostly pop music from the charts from that time. The cast do a great job however without dropping any spoilers for me the film ended almost at the point it was about to get even more interesting, though I doubt there will be any sequel. The film is an interesting character study of one the UKs greatest ever front men from one of the best bands the country has produced, however I am not sure that this film is something either he or his fans will take to their heart. I feel there is a better film on this subject yet to be made. Interesting from as a psychological study but fans may feel shortchanged.

8 / 10

a film for the fans!!!

to start off with, if you're going into this film hoping to see plenty of smiths songs and smiths related stuff, you're going to be disappointed. however this film is a realistic, enlightening and well made insight into a young, socially awkward yet likable Stephen Patrick Morrissey, trying to get his voice heard in the cramped music scene of the 1970/80s. Jack Lowden (Morrissey) who may not really look a lot like Morrissey, does a excellent job of portraying all of his unique characteristics and making him likable in the processes.

as a massive smiths fan I was of course disappointed at the absence of any smiths songs, however the music was still very good, using a lot of mid 70s tracks, which is sure to give a lot of older fans nostalgia. the only problem I found was that I originally knew this would obviously be a dramatization like most film biographies, but I then found out later that this is an unauthorized film, meaning that all of this could of possibly been false information, which is a bit of a waste of an hour and a half if it is.

altogether though it was a very well made film with lots of style and memorable performances. hopefully a follow-up will be made in the future which focuses more on the smiths and their road to becoming one of the most recognizable bands ever made.

8 / 10

Tedious... as it should be!

My criteria for movies:

Do I believe the characters? Yes.Do I care about the characters? YesDo I believe the story? YesDo I care about the story? Absolutely

I struggled a little through the first half of the movie, finding it tedious, slow, and a little difficult to become engaged in. As I watched, however, I realized that this is Morrissey we're talking about -- someone whom one of the indie/alternative radio stations in America constantly referred to as "Miserable Morrissey". Very slowly, but surely, everything began to make sense in Morrissey's environment and how his experience shaped him into one of the great lyricists of pop music: No way out of the drab working class existence, with a local music scene that says nothing to anybody about their lives, and simply a unique person trying to fit in to a type-cast world. From that backdrop, Morrissey finds some semblance of salvation in poetry and music, friends and family.

I suspect the low IMDB score -- currently 6.1 out of 10 -- may in part be due to the slow pace and the fact that Morrissey almost never smiles. But that's what's so good about the movie -- in the final analysis, it makes me a believer.

The Smiths-less soundtrack is excellent as is the cinematography, the latter adding to the gloomy, grey, drab feel of life in Manchester and its working class. The poetic element, where Morrissey and his friend frequently practice their poetic chops together complements the soundtrack perfectly well.

"England is mine" has its flaws here and there, but nothing so significant as to tarnish a very good, captivating movie. 8 of 10.

7 / 10

The negative of what could've been............

A film/docudrama about the early days of The Smiths/Morrissey. When this is set, in the late 70's, if you took a photograph and had it developed you would have got a photo and a negative copy. This film is like the negative of the events. It's like the uninteresting part of something special...... and don't get me wrong . The Smiths were special, in every sense of the word. Shame, what could have been..........