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Inside I'm Dancing


Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Inside I'm Dancing

When O'Donnell (director, East Is East) visited a home for the disabled and was asked to watch the home-movie they had made, he expected a depressing film about the struggles of coping with disability, just as you or I might. However, he was amazed when it turned out to be a horror movie involving a serial killer murdering the wheelchair bound cast one by one.  Pleasantly surprised at this level of humour and realising how stereotyped and prejudiced our views of the disabled are, O'Donnell created Inside I'm Dancing to change all that.

Michael (Robertson) has cerebral palsy, which has left him unable to talk in anything more than a moaned mumble, and knows nothing beyond the walls of the Carrigmore Home for the Disabled. Until, that is, he meets new resident Rory (McAvoy), a wise-cracking rebel who will not allow his muscular dystrophy to sap his spirit. Working together, they're able to secure themselves an Independent Living deal from the authorities, a modern ground floor flat in the middle of town, and best of all in Michael's opinion - the personal assistance of pretty party girl Siobhan (Garai). However, as the relationships become complicated and the illnesses prevail, all three characters must question their futures.

The liberal use of comedy, such as when Rory and Michael use their charity collection buckets to go out on the town, helps the film balance between putting its message across and not being overly preachy. It might be argued that using a couple of able-bodied actors to play the two leads goes towards defeating the purpose of the film, but that doesn't distract from the overall message. Wimbledon star McAvoy capably conveys Rory's immobile frustration, while newcomer Robertson flawlessly portrays Michael's mangled limbs and unintelligible speech. Both, however, are bested by Garai, who lights up the screen.

Winner of the Audience Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival, this film aims for both the heart-strings and the funny bone, and it manages to find both its targets. The poster displays the line 'You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll see the world a different way', and for once, it's definitely true.

Phil Lurie

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)