The Nan Movie


‘…unrelentingly crude, mean-spirited and aggressively tatty…’

Yikes! Even in the box-office doldrums of the 70’s, British cinema still had plenty of big hits, albeit often cringe-worthy sex comedies. Fast forward to 2022, and there’s precious few British films that get the chance to chime with audiences; even given the proof of concept that a tv hit might provide, it’s hard to see why Catherine Tate’s Nan character might have been seen as worth a movie of her own. The punch-line is that The Nan Movie is a shockingly poor piece of work, a damp squib in cinemas now transitioning to streaming to attract the unwary.

Directed by Mary Queen of Scots director Josie O’Rourke in what must be one of the largest step-downs in cinematic history, The Nan Movie has been delayed and subject to revisions that saw O’Rourke’s name removed from the credits and replaced with; well, no-one, since there’s no director’s credit here. A thin narrative is constructed about the combative Nan (Tate) and her grandson Jamie (Mathew Horne) travelling to Liverpool and then Ireland to visit a dying friend Nell (Katherine Parkinson). That’s the plot, but there’s regular trips back to British cinema’s obsession with WWII, where Nan and Nell fight over a hunky US GI, a feud that continues for decades until the action of this film begins. Apparently, these flashbacks used to be the main spine of the film, but producers feared that this wasn’t what their target audience wanted, so the modern-day story was beefed up with drug-fuelled parties, awful Robin Williams-style prop comedy and cheap-looking animated sequences that bluntly stitch the story together.

‘He was obsessed with my a**ehole,’ laments Nan as she thinks back to a previous lover; that’s the level of the comedy here, which is unrelentingly crude, mean-spirited and aggressively tatty; Nan is transported in a mini-bus with Crafts Undo Negative Thinking, so that every time the door opens, a four-letter word appears on screen. Parkinson is one of the UK’s comic treasures, an inspired choice for the role of Jen in The IT Crowd, and it’s painful to see her brought down to this level, but there can be no winners when the bar is set so low.

The number of British films screened in cinemas seems to have reached an all-time low, but The Nan Movie isn’t going to save anything. Aside from ironists like myself, lured to gawk at the pile-up here, it’s hard to imagine who would watch or enjoy this. And at the centre of the problem is Nan herself; a miserable hedonist that’s hard to fathom other than an excuse for stereotyping. A black man is described as ‘Al Jolson’, a lesbian is labelled as KD Lang. Not only are these references so wildly out of date as to have mere historical interest, they’re also genuinely offensive when shorn of any context other than just Nan’s habit of name-calling. The one star here is for the music choices; at least the music supervisor got the right tone, with the inclusion of Frank Stallone’s epic anthem Far from Over the sole redeeming point here.




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  1. Definitely a sign of the times. Only a movie with a television star can get greenlit. This was a character well by her sell-by date that only a desperate industry would attempt to revive.

    • I’ll send you a blu-ray, but the big screen experience is really required.

          • 😀
            and yet, I’ve never won the lottery any of the 3 times I’ve played it over the last 22 years. Makes me feel that it’s rigged. Like this movie…

            • It’s rigged, and only I can fix it! Create a direct debit and send me your monthly paycheck to ensure a fair and free lottery!

              Played it once, to be polite. You choose six numbers and that’s it. Cost me a quid.

              • I shall now reply to all requests for alms with an official “Oink” pre-prepared statement. Saves time on my end. So without further ado…

                We don’t even have to choose. a computer just spits out a ticket with the 6 number spots filled in randomly. With 300 million to 1 odds, you’d think the third time I bought a ticket the odds would have been in my favor. No such luck! I’d have better luck watching some random movie in a theatre.

                • You tried three times, that’s more than enough, best quit while you are ahead. Going to the theatre still the best way to see a film, no interruptions! Last night’s movie was ruined by some rando making pig noises…

                  • Yep, unless the jackpot hits the one billion mark again, my gambling days are done! I mean, 3 times is practically addicted!

                    I think the best way to see a film is to NOT see a film at all. Is that idea patented? Because if it’s not I’m going to get rich VERY quickly.

                    You probably asked him for money….

                    • I think a certain number of readers have no intention of watching the movies involved. They just want to keep in touch with the ongoing soap opera of film…

                    • Noooo!?! Are you serious? People read your blog who have NOOOO intention of ever watching the movies?
                      Color me shocked.

                      Scallawags like those people need to be drawn and quartered and then painted a certain color!

                    • Your comment made me realize something. My job on the internet is to talk the blue talk, walk the blue walk and paint the blue paint.

                      What a revelatory experience this has been! Thanks!!!!!

  2. I guess it’s a good thing I can’t make out anything she’s saying in the trailer.

    Looks awful. Was this character a hit in England? Never heard of her.

    • She was touted about twelve years ago, but didn’t seem to take despite slots on Dr Who and The Office, nothing clicked. But there’s no excuse for a film turning out like this….

      • What does any of this have to do with Indian flatbread anyway?

        Just taking a break from watching Woody Harrelson turn into some kind of evil alien symbiote. What a load of garbage. I wish there was some authoritative film guide I could turn to that would warn me away from dreck like this. I may have to cut my staycation short and right these gross cinematic wrongs.

        • I’m renaming my blog ‘Not my Opinion, but a Guess as to whether films will work for Alex’; it was a fairly middling three star! Will await your review when you return from the multiverse…

          The Nan Movie is a reboot of Dhal M for Murder. FacT!

            • I was in screenings today. My job to spot the next Venom; There Will Be Garbage and bring it to your attention.

                • Father Stu, Everything Everywhere and I took in current release Lost City to make a day of it. Gone at the days of watching dozens of films at junkets, but I’m doing my bit to make sure they keep screening some of the new releases on the big screen.

                  No Charlie Chan, sorry.

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