7.9/10
4,860
17 user 6 critic

Marvellous (2014)

Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 25 September 2014
The life of Neil Baldwin, a man who has shrugged off his perceived limitations to live an incredible life.

Director:

Julian Farino

Writer:

Peter Bowker
Reviews
10 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toby Jones ... Neil Baldwin
Gemma Jones ... Mary
Tony Curran ... Lou Macari
Nicholas Gleaves ... Rev Mark
Greg McHugh ... Malcolm
Paul Hunter Paul Hunter ... Ringmaster
Steven Cree ... Rev. McCoist
Mona Goodwin Mona Goodwin ... Elaine
Jacqueline Redgewell Jacqueline Redgewell ... Doris
Paul Bell Paul Bell ... Lorry driver
Ben Abell Ben Abell ... Security guard
Jordan Murphy ... Laino
Oliver Ashworth ... Bomber
Toby DeCann ... Paddy
Michael Fox ... Registrar
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Storyline

Neil Baldwin, born just after World War II, is considered to have learning difficulties but he has an appetite for life and, encouraged by his mother Mary, leaves his butchery job to join the circus as Nello the Clown, being undaunted when the circus moves on without him. He moves to Keele University, where Mary has a cleaning job, appointing himself the unofficial greeter to new students, a role rewarded by an honorary degree in 2013. He also gets to manage its unofficial football team, named after him, and in 1992 talks his way into becoming the kit man and mascot of his beloved football team Stoke City. For Neil there are no boundaries - his interest in religion leads to his becoming a lay preacher whilst he presents himself at the House of Commons for tea with MP Tony Benn and at Cambridge University, where he strikes up a friendship with Prince Andrew, which results in his being on the queen's Christmas card list. With his indomitable attitude overcoming early set-backs and the ... Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official BBC page

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 2014 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Marvellous See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The incident with the chicken suit was an away game at Cambridge Utd. It was such a hot day that some supporters passed out and bottles of water given out to fans by stewards but Neil Baldwin wore the chicken outfit whilst sat in the dug out. See more »

Quotes

Neil Baldwin: I always wanted to be happy, so I decided to be.
See more »

Connections

Features Trapeze (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Very pleasing and heart-warming tale, with a clever and effective delivery that sees the film mirror Baldwin
20 February 2015 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

This film is the true story of Neil Baldwin, a man diagnosed with learning difficulties as a child but one who counts royalty and bishops among his close friends, has connections across the world of English football, was given an honorary degree by Keele University, and worked as kit man for Stoke City. I guess to deliver this film there were many ways that the film could have gone, but it was a very wise decision to make the film very much in the style of Neil himself – gentle, unassuming, self-assured, and totally unthreatening. The story opens with Neil abandoned by his circus employer, although hardly put out by it, he simply walks to a church where he is able to get help – not by charm or force, but just by an apparent lack of awareness of "normal" society.

This continues through the film and we see someone who just put his mind to things, decided he would do something, and did it. It is a story that is very well told by the film because it manages to be uplifting, funny, sad, hopeful, and genuinely warming to watch. It is not that he deserves great awards or knighthoods as some have suggested, but there is certainly something cheering about a life well lived without seemingly any trace of malice, spite or harm in the man's body. This gentle, honest approach extends to my favorite device of the film, which is to integrate the real Baldwin and the real Lou Macari into the film, to have them sit with the actors while the actors are in character; this device works surprisingly well, not only because it lets us see that us Baldwin really does seem to be the person that we are told, but also so that Baldwin can contribute directly his views on the thing we just saw. It sounds like it shouldn't work, but it works tremendously well.

A big part of it working is that Toby Jones is excellent. He is wonderfully human, determined, and very much in keeping with a simple man with determination and no ill-will. To consider what some actors would do with a "learning difficulties" character, Jones makes it a base for his character but never what or who he is playing; I particularly liked him staying in character while sharing the scene with the real Baldwin – it not only showed how well the character was being delivered, but it also doubled up on the warming effect and gave an unusual device of getting inside the character's head at that moment. The supporting cast are all very good, but the film belongs to Jones and Baldwin.

You will have heard many good things about this film, and maybe it is a bit over-hyped, but that is not to say that it isn't really good. It is a gentle, unassuming little film that will surprise you by how much it does and how well it does it – again, just like Baldwin himself.


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