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article imageReview: 'Good Vibrations' is true to its name Special

By Kristal Cooper     Dec 19, 2013 in Entertainment
Love for vinyl records has certainly made a resurgence over the past few years, with record shops popping up in larger cities everywhere. It's no wonder that films about record shops are due for a comeback as well.
Set amidst the violence of 1970s Belfast, Good Vibrations effectively communicates just why, even 40 years later, people seem so nostalgic for the time when vinyl was king and how, for one community, a record store could be an escape from the horrible realities just outside the door.
The film tells the true story of Terry Hooley (played here by Richard Dormer), a man with some impressively offbeat connections to the music world (Bob Dylan and John Lennon got into sparring matches with him at one time or another) and a wish to lift himself and his neighbourhood out of the tension surrounding "the Troubles" by opening a record store and eventually launching a sister label that specialized in showcasing Ireland's quickly growing punk music scene. However, despite having an interest in music that often had a political edge, Hooley insisted that anyone who entered his shop do it simply for the love of music, leaving their politics at the door. Not such an easy thing to do at the time, but Hooley managed to (mostly) make it work.
The film runs through Hooley's career of enthusiastically (and to varying degrees of success) testing out assorted aspects of the music business, from the opening of the shop, to becoming a band manager, a producer and eventually having a hit with the single 'Teenage Kicks' by The Undertones. All of this while maintaining an apolitical stance and never discriminating based on whether his colleagues or proteges were Catholic or Protestant - a truly impressive feat given the revolution that was surrounding him.
Directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn do an excellent job of putting you right in the centre of Hooley's manic world even if the film feels a bit too chaotic and rambling at times, perhaps as further testament to how shambolic the music industry can be. Regardless, it's pretty cool to see a film that takes care in its myth-making of a figure whose pure love of music made a tiny but lasting impact on both the industry and his community yet isn't a name that many would recognize outside Belfast. Good vibrations indeed.
Good Vibrations opens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on December 20, 2013.
More about good vibrations, Lisa Barros D'Sa, Glenn Leyburn, Terri Hooley, punk music
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