The healing power of an animal’s unconditional love is given its due in “A Street Cat Named Bob,” a film based on the bestselling memoir of the same name by James Bowen. Bowen (played here by Luke Treadaway) is a former heroin addict who had his life turned around when he met a stray cat that he named Bob. Bowen decided to take in and care for the kitty and his true, tender and heartwarming story is hard not to like and admire.
This true tale starts out with a harrowing drug overdose that lands Bowen in the emergency room, near death. He’s trying desperately to get off drugs but has been unable to find the strength to shake his demons. The young man has been disowned by his family, living on the streets of London and playing his guitar for pocket change just to survive. When it seems he has hit rock bottom, a four legged savior named Bob purrs his way into his life. The boisterous, ginger feline gives Bowen the strength and determination to become a better man.
There are some very heavy themes at play here (the screenplay touches briefly on some serious social issues including homelessness and the plight of drug addiction), but the film isn’t too dark or serious and mostly feels like it’s designed to tug at your heartstrings. What elevates from your usual Hallmark movie of the week is that the story of inseparable friendship is truly touching and doesn’t ring false. Even if you never cry at movies, I dare you not to get teary eyed when viewing this one. Get the hankies ready when Bowen foregoes eating himself just so he can use the last of his money to buy Bob a can of cat food.
Treadaway is compelling and gives a heartfelt, earnest performance as Bowen, but it’s the cat who steals the show. Even better is the fact that the real Bob the cat plays himself, and he’s a true character.
This is a feel good movie that will surely touch the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to share their life with a cat needs to see this one.