Who was awake at 1:30 AM yesterday? I was. And not because I wanted to be. My spouse was up as well and we sat shoulder to shoulder in bed, bleary eyed and exhausted–but unable to sleep. The fact that we have a 36″ flat screen at the foot of our bed is, I’m sure, responsible in part for our collective insomnia but we have to have a TV in our bedroom and it has to be turned on –always.
Frustrated by the usual Netflix shuffle, the looking at various categories of movies and trying to find just the right film (we really wanted to be bored and lulled to sleep) we paused to read the short synopsis of the movie, “A Street Cat Named Bob.”
Bob is a ginger cat with amazing green emerald eyes and he “adopts” a heroin addicted busker, named James, who has just survived an overdose. The movie has its predictable moments; a friend overdoses and dies, family dysfunction and confrontation, but it’s based on a true life story and is well written with tenderness and brutal honesty that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. It’s also heartbreaking and you will cheer for the busker and also find yourself yelling “No! No! Don’t do it!”
Bob becomes a companion to James as he works the most profitable street corners,singing and playing his guitar and drawing admiration and attention all the while struggling to feed himself and the cat. In a Methadone program and in temporary emergency housing, James wonders aloud how many “lives” Bob has used and tells the cat, “I’m on my 9th.”
The social worker helping James has incredible faith believing James is different and that he’ll make it but she is also realistic when she cautions him about getting romantically involved with a young girl he meets, “Emotions are no friend to an addict.”
There is a scene in the movie that I loved and thought profound in its subtlety: Bob and James are riding on the upper level of a double decker bus and enjoying the view. The bus passes by a movie marquee for the play, The Lion King, and the busker tells Bob, “You could be that. That could be you.”
Needless to say, A Street Cat Named Bob did NOT put me to sleep. It’s a feel good movie to be sure but without the need for sticky syrup sweetness or blood and gore with senseless action.
I’m always happy to find movies like this. True stories. Real people. Well done.