A Street Cat Named Bob  – A Preview

Based on James Bowen’s bestselling autobiographical book, A Street Cat Named Bob is a heart-warming, yet surprisingly unflinching, examination of homelessness and drug dependency. 

Bob, a ginger stray, comes into Bowen’s life, and in doing so gives him a reason to get up in the morning. Bowen, having been presented with someone that needs his care and attention, is forced to confront his methadone dependency. Luke Treadaway plays Bowen with a winsome charm that disguised a steely resolve, while the real Bob plays himself, bringing a delightful authenticity to the scenes in and around Roger Spottiswoode’s grim, grey London.The book is an episodic, if charming, series of anecdotes so its perhaps understandable that in providing a narrative arc for the film, Tim John’s screenplay shifts the emphasis towards Bowen’s romance with Betty, but it’s a pity. Though nicely played by  Ruta Gedmintas, Betty is not what we’ve come to see. 

Instead, the film is at its best when showcasing the extraordinary bond between Bowen and his feline friend, something it does without ever lapsing into mawkish sentimentality. Fundamentally, this is a story about the power of redemption, toleration and understanding, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a cute cat when we see one.

By David Vass