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A Sy of satistaction.

There are some actors who seem to play the same role in every film. Tom Hanks – decent everyman. Maggie Smith – haughty matriarch. Zooey Deschanel – kooky singleton. Not bad if the results are Cast Away, Downton Abbey and 500 Days of Summer. Then there are actors who seem to play themselves. Hugh Grant – English fop. Colin Firth – English bounder. I’m starting to see a theme here. I’ve chosen these two because although they have both coasted along for some time, they can still deliver magic when needed, as anyone who saw Firth’s turn as tragic yachtsman Donald Crowhurst, in The Mercy, or Grant parodying his own public image in Paddington 2, will know.

One person who seems to straddle both camps is French actor Omar Sy. He is best known here for his role in the breakout 2011 French film, Untouchable. Playing the tearaway whose unconventional approach to care work transforms the life of his disabled employer, Sy’s larger than life personality filled every inch of the screen. Next up in the UK was Samba, where he had a similar effect as the migrant worker trying to make a life in Paris, proving he was just as good with serious stuff as clowning around. This brings us to his next appearance, in Chocolat, the true story of the former Cuban slave who wowed the circus scene in 1890s France. Usually playing big hearted characters who never stop trying and embrace life to the full, Sy seems to embody in real life many of the same values as his characters. Growing up in a deprived housing estate in Paris, he worked his way up through minor roles and became the first black actor to win a César Award (A French Oscar), he was also voted France’s favourite personality twice in the last 6 years. Come and see just how good he is when Chocolat plays in Oswestry.


Michael Hudson


From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 20th March 2018.

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