Highly acclaimed independent film Good Vibrations tells the true story of Terri Hooley, the self-styled “Godfather of Ulster Punk”, who opened a record shop on the most bombed street in Belfast during the height of the Troubles in the 1970s.
In the film, music-loving rebel Hooley refuses to take sides during the Troubles. Instead of participating in political and religious tribalism, he focuses his energies on establishing a record shop, which leads him to discover a resistance movement in the form of an underground punk scene. One thing leads to another, and he ends up galvanising local musicians to create something beautiful despite the chaos and destruction which surrounds them. He sets up a record label and releases The Undertones classic Teenage Kicks, which DJ and champion of new music John Peel described as his favourite song.
Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, Good Vibrations is warm and uplifting. Sheer joy for music lovers. It has been nominated for a BAFTA, three Irish Film and Television Awards, and won the Galway Film Fleadh Audience Award. Film critic Mark Kermode voted it his favourite film of 2013. Richard Dormer, who plays Hooley, is outstanding, and every member of the supporting cast delivers an equally stellar performance.
Two key scenes in the film feature the track Teenage Kicks, by The Undertones. Both scenes gave me goosebumps and made my eyes well up with tears. If I share the detail, I’ll spoil it for you. But without giving anything away, you don’t actually hear the song in one of the scenes; you just witness Hooley’s reaction when he listens to it for the first time. The scene is a gem.
The film has real heart. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Don’t just watch it. Buy it. You’ll want to watch it more than once. As soon as I had finished watching it for the first time, I poured myself a glass of wine, put the DVD back in the player and watched it again.