UNITED KINGDOM / IRELAND – 2012 – 101 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY LISA BARROS D’SA AND GLENN LEYBURN
Terri Hooley is a radical, rebel and music-lover in 1970s Belfast, when the bloody conflict known as the Troubles shuts down his city. As all his friends take sides and take up arms, Terri opens a record shop on the most bombed half-mile in Europe and calls it Good Vibrations. Through it he discovers a compelling voice of resistance in the city’s nascent underground punk scene. Galvanising the young musicians into action, he becomes the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks who join him in his mission to create a new community, an alternative ulster, to bring his city back to life.
Based on the life of Terri Hooley, a record-store owner instrumental in developing Belfast's punk-rock scene.
Since the age of five Terri Hooley has had only one eye. He has never seen things as others see them. And in the world of Belfast’s Troubles, thank fuck.
Terri’s a DJ, an anarchist, son of a radical socialist father and believer in the revolutionary power of the seven-inch single. Music can bring people together. The right music: his music.
For a moment in the 1960s it seemed everyone of his generation in Belfast shared his vision – but there was something else going on beneath the surface. Belfast erupted into violence. Friends became enemies, murders became commonplace.
In his mid twenties, in the mid 1970s, Terri survives a paramilitary murder bid. Terri’s response? Not ‘get out, fast’, but open a record shop in the middle of the chaos. And as a further gesture of defiance against the bad vibes all around him, he names the shop Good Vibrations.
It becomes a haven for a ragtag crowd of kids and up-and-coming bands with nowhere else to go, and through them Terri discovers what he’s looking for: a compelling voice of resistance to the Troubles that have shut down Belfast.
His first excursion into the underground punk scene is an epiphany: these kids making brilliant, urgent music no one else will hear, these are the ones who’ll bring his city back to life. Terri becomes their unlikely leader, galvanising them into action, touring them round the dead spaces of Northern Ireland and beyond, opening up the wide world to them and making the world sit up and listen.
Good Vibrations: first a record shop, then a label, always a way of life. But from the outset it is assailed from all sides: by the cops, convinced it is a front for drug dealing, by the constant threat of the paramilitaries, by Terri’s socialist father who mounts an anti-capitalist on the pavement outside, by Terri’s own inbuilt urge to self-destruct and even, when the Undertones wander into the picture, by the prospect of the Big Time.
But Terri rejects success on anyone else's terms. As ever, he looks at things in his own way. At a fundraising concert at the Ulster Hall, the crowds turn out, but will it be enough to keep the shop open? For Terri that night, saving the shop is less the point than saving the city. As old friends and followers celebrate all that Good Vibrations means to them, it’s clear Terri has triumphed in his own way: he’s created his community, his Alternative Ulster.
“...a feel-good comedy in the soulful vein of The Commitments."
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Interview with Terri Hooley (Dec. 20, 2013)
- CBC Radio AS IT HAPPENS
“...GOOD VIBRATIONS is a love song to both the power of both music and determined political resistance.”
- THE TORONTO STAR
"This is the story of a man so in love with music that he dedicated himself to spreading it, and changed the culture around him as a result.”
- NOW MAGAZINE
"For music fans, there are more than enough historical anecdotes to chew on…”
"Directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn do an excellent job of putting you right in the centre of Hooley's manic world…"
- DIGITAL JOURNAL
"Richard Dormer delivers a fine performance as Terri.”
- TORONTO FILM SCENE
"As a buoyant character study and a fierce statement on music and politics, GOOD VIBRATIONS is a lively and rounded portrait of “the Godfather of Punk Rock” who, like the John Peel mantra used in the film, believes firmly in “the revolutionary power of the seven-inch single.”
- THE SEVENTH ART
"Watching GOOD VIBRATIONS will leave you with a massive grin on your face, a warm glow in your heart, and a desire to find out much more about the bands of the Belfast punk scene and of course, the inimitable Terri Hooley himself.”
“...certainly a feel good flick."
- QUIP MAG
“...the underlying message is universal. Music is a way to build bridges.”
- MY ETV MEDIA