England Is Mine Review

Stephanie Bennett gives us the rundown on the controversial biopic every indie fan will want to see.

The recently-released biopic about the teenage life of Morrissey in the 1970s manages to capture not only his pretentious dramatism but somehow succeeds in making it charming. Despite this, the film has drawn some harsh criticism, which seems unfounded considering Jack Lowden’s authentic acting in his portrayal of Steven Patrick Morrissey. There is a distinct sense of fondness and vulnerability; the director Mark Gill has successfully avoided a clumsy parody of the moody Mancunian and has instead created an astute insight into the world of Morrissey.

Lowden’s portrayal buoys an already scathingly witty script with the visceral talent and tragedy that can be heard in any song by The Smiths. From furiously scribbling at his typewriter to trudging down the corridor at his monotonous desk job, Lowden embodies both the crippling doubt and the almost bovine self-confidence that arguably characterises the Morrissey model. At times the film is a poignant reminder of the struggles of depression, but also manages to be incredibly droll because of the caustic sarcasm and cynical derision that Lowden’s character personifies.

Simone Kirby (as Steven’s mother) was particularly strong in her role, managing to not only lift the spirits of her son but the whole audience. The rest of the cast, Jessica Brown Findlay as arty, edgy Linder Sterling; Katherine Pearce as Anji Hardie; Laurie Kynaston as Johnny Marr and Jodie Comer as Christine, were also notable in their performances. All in all, England is Mine is a sharp and sophisticated biopic that manages to portray Morrissey as both endearingly awkward and acidly self-assured in his talent as a writer and singer. It was a delight to watch and would recommend it to anyone with a spare couple of hours on their hands.

Stephanie Bennett

(Image: Still/Hanway Films)