Movie Review: Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution (2007)

Starring: Catherine Tate, Iain Glenn and Jessica Barden

Directed by: Billie Eltringham

Mr. Ratcliffe is a communist as is his daughter Mary and in 1968 he receives a job offer to move from Yorkshire to East Germany to teach English literature. A little reluctant, Mrs. Ratcliffe agrees but upon arriving in the little border town on the East side of the fence she decides that it’s already time to go home. She must avoid being caught by spies in order to reunite her divided family so they can return to Britain.

I will be the first to admit that I’d never heard of this movie before but it was one of my wife’s DVDs and tonight was her movie choice. I’ve never been a fan of Catherine Tate over the years, mainly down to her comedy sketch show, The Catherine Tate Show, being absolutely dreadful and unfunny. With all my prejudices aside to how I thought this movie was going to go I sat back and hoped to be surprised.

It wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it was going to be is probably the biggest compliment I can give this film. After watching the atrocious Happy Birthday to Me earlier on today I was fully expectant to watch another movie on the same level but Catherine Tate and company actually did do a half decent job. From the beginning I didn’t really like Tate’s character as she played Mrs. Ratcliffe but as the movie progressed and Mrs. Ratcliffe became the family’s beacon of hope I began to enjoy both the character and performance a lot more. The comedy within the movie was very hit or miss as some moments made me chuckle and other moments left me straight faced, but again it was funnier than anticipated.

I enjoyed the performance of Nigel Betts who played Uncle Philip who is an incredibly anxious person who always feels that he’s not good enough. While his part was small compared to most I liked watching his confidence grow throughout the movie as he stepped out of his father’s shadow and began standing up for himself. There were two decent breakout performances by Brittany Ashworth and Jessica Barden who played Mrs. Ratcliffe’s daughters. For two inexperienced actresses I felt that they didn’t allow themselves to get overwhelmed by their roles and gave decent but flawed performances.

One of my main critiques of Mrs. Ratcliffe’s Revolution was the pacing. The story moved at quite a lethargic pace only to spring into life all of a sudden as the finish felt rushed and put together last minute. Also at times during the beginning portion of the movie there were a fair few moments where I was slightly bored as I yearned for a higher standard of entertainment which thankfully did arrive.

In conclusion, this movie was a lot better than I initially thought it was going to be despite having a quite a lot of faults. Would recommend to a Catherine Tate fan for sure but otherwise it’s one of those movies that watchable but ultimately forgettable.


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