Beat Girl (2013)

Starring: Louise Dylan, Michael Higgs, Percelle Ascott, Miles Richardson, Hilary Rose, Craig Daniel Adams

Directed by: Mairtín de Barra

Rating: 1 2 3

Beat Girl

On the surface, Heather (Louise Dylan) would appear to have it all. Not only is she tall, blonde and blessed with perfect skin and cool fashion designer friends, she's also a talented classical pianist in the running for a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard 'Fame' school. But then again, her mother's just died, she's behind in her classes, she's skint and she's been forced to move in with her estranged father (Michael Higgs, aka gangster Andy from EastEnders) and surly half-brother, so it's fair to say things have gone a bit Pete Tong.

When she loses out on her scholarship, she comes up with the unlikely plan of becoming a DJ. Cuz it pays well, apparently. So, of course, does being a barrister, but hip record shop owner and club promoter Toby has thrown that lucrative career over in order to swim in the murky waters of clubland, and when he offers to give Heather DJing lessons, she agrees with alacrity. And who can blame her? She has, after all, spent her entire life furiously tinkling the ivories in the shadow of her famous concert pianist mother. It's time to find out who she really is.

Given the fact that I'd rather extract my teeth with pliers than attend a rave, I probably shouldn't have liked this film much (although perhaps my abject lack of knowledge about dance music helped me suspend my disbelief). Yet despite a rather pedestrian script, some stilted performances and the feeling that you may accidentally have strayed into an episode of Faking It, there's something rather sweet and heart-warming about this low budget, British, rite of passage movie. The themes of friendship, self-discovery and following your dreams may be hackneyed, but the concept of a classically trained DJ is a new one on me and it's not such a great leap of faith to believe that someone as musical as Heather could easily pick up the beat, and would happily trade in a life of discipline and dedication for larging it in Ibiza.

Gritty it ain't (it makes Billy Elliot look like Naked) but it's certainly enjoyable and captures confidently the scary excitement of being young, confused and on the brink of taking that leap into the great wide open. (Although as someone twice Heather's age, I can't help feeling a little sorry for her stolid, down to earth, practical dad, who may not 'understand' her passion for music but who still puts a very nice roof over her head, not to mention being the only person who ever does any washing up.) Likeable and pleasingly escapist, if you're a fan of Fame, Coyote Ugly or Save the Last Dance, I'd recommend you give Beat Girl a whirl for a similar feelgood glow.

Beat Girl is out in the UK on Friday 10 May.

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