Published Nov 01, 2001An unusual mix of punk rock, disco fever and magic come together in Pete Hewitt's Whatever Happen to Harold Smith? The film is blessed with a comical edge and a little twist of fate for good measure. The film begins with 40-year-old Vince Smith (Michael Legge) at an amusement park (shot on video for that "family moment" flair) where he scatters his father's ashes while riding the roller coaster. After scattering his fathers ashes, Vince takes us back to the time of his youth and when his father suddenly shocked everyone.
It's 1977 in the town of Sheffield, England. 18-year-old Vince is a disco junkie who thrives on his hero John Travolta. Aside from his own life, Vince endures family life, friends and the one girl at work he can't seem to ask out. Vince's father, Harold Smith (Tom Courtenay) is a retired clerk who prefers the quiet lifestyle: an armchair, his pipe and the television. Then one day, out of the blue, Harold develops the ability to read people's minds, stop watches and move various objects. Cinematic effects are daring in various shots, which isn't half bad for a Brit flick. With everything going on in the Smith family, Vince is obsessed with Joanna Robinson (Laura Fraser), a friend and co-worker who's nightlife is all punk. Out with the flashy polyester suits and in with the spiked hairdo and ripped clothes. Vince's character as a punk changes him to be more assertive and open minded about his relationship with Joanna. The film presents a realistic omen on relationships.