Luke Treadaway gives a spot-on performance as homeless street musician James Bowen and it’s a master stroke to cast the real Bob as the cat that transforms his life.
Bowen, born in the UK but raised in Australia, is a troubled addict struggling to hold his life together on the streets of London, but kindly support worker Joanne Froggatt steers him on the road to recovery and finds him a place to live.
Then, one night, stray cat Bob appears, stays put and gives him a reason to carry on…
Veteran director Roger Spottiswoode provides a good deal of gritty realism to the early stages of the film, which then turns into a warm-hearted and witty memoir as Bob pulls in the crowds and the money for busker Bowen.
A friendship with Ruta Gedmintas, as his New Age neighbour, is another plus point, although his relationship with his dad (Anthony Head) is on more rocky ground.
Treadaway makes a genuinely sympathetic, vulnerable lead and holds his own opposite his charismatic co-star – and the real Bowen makes a neat cameo appearance, too.