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Grow Your Own


Year: 2007 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Grow Your Own

Director: Richard Laxton

Starring: Benedict Wong, Eddie Marsan, Philip Jackson

Set in the North of England, Grow Your Own tells the tale of a group of grouchy old men living out their days in their treasured allotments; a life of vegetables, good fresh air and convention. So when some families of African, Asian and Chinese asylum seekers are put on the land to join them as part of a community project to immerse them in British culture, rising tension means things aren’t so sweet smelling and rosy. The atmosphere gets even thicker when a mobile phone company decides to put a mast in the allotment (the angry band of gardeners nudging it in the direction of the immigrants’ land), and also when the immigration services arrive to deport one of the families.

This charming British film is overflowing with one-liners that happily take the edge of the underlying seriousness of the plot. Indeed, don’t go thinking this is a deeply stirring racial drama; far from it! The fact that the social tension is displayed through a disagreement over the colour of sheds shows the flair of the cast and crew to comically deal with such a controversial topic.

The screenplay is written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, whose work over the last ten years has included the masterpiece 24 Hour Party People and the memorable Hilary and Jackie. Coupled with the remarkable talents of Director Richard Laxton, who is well known for his work on the compelling and edgy urban drama Life And Lyrics, you have the makings of a superbly crafted comedy with the expertise to cleverly address current social issues.The cast is also absolutely brilliant, with Philip Jackson playing the bullying self-appointed chairman Big John, encapsulating the smallmindedness some harbour towards changing times. Additionally, Benedict Wong, as the disturbed Chinese father, evokes our sympathy most skilfully. This well put together black comedy must be praised for not being afraid to confront the bleaker areas of British contemporary life. It neatly explores reactions to immigration and the problems that everyone who comes across it has to face, and is definitely worth a trip to L3 for.

Laura Sparshot

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Autumn Term (35mm)