Directed by Ruth Meehan, and based on the book by Anne Gildea, I’ve Got Cancer, What’s Your Excuse?, The Bright Side is a new Irish comedy, although dramedy is a better word for it.
Kate is a stand-up comedian from the west living in Dublin. She is doing well enough with some national tours and radio appearances, and she has an alright flat in Dublin, but in her personal life she is struggling.
She already has bad relationships with both her parents, has suicidal thoughts, and the last thing she needs is a cancer diagnosis. She struggles her way through chemo but develops a bond with her fellow patients and maybe starts to think life is worth living after all.
I wanted to like this more than I did. The problem for me was the dialogue which just felt a little unreal, it is as if people in the film were far too sincere for my Irish ears. It is just not the Ireland I know. Sometimes it just felt like a Nicolas Sparks novel, (the guy who wrote The Notebook. Puke! ).
The story is predictable. There is nothing wrong with that, but I had hoped for a few twists or an Irish spin on the story. If you are in the mood for a film like this, see Brittany Runs a Marathon on Amazon, which better captures the vibe this movie is going for.
On a positive note, Gemma-Leah Devereux brings a certain charisma to Kate - you do believe her as a stand-up comedian. I wish she had some better dialogue to work with. The supporting cast is also good, I thought Siobhan Cullen stole the show as fellow cancer patient Tracy. Unfortunately, even at 90 minutes, it felt a little long. Not one I would rush out to see, but if you come across it on TV some evening you could do worse.