Good Vibrations is the biopic of Belfast record store owner come talent scout come music producer Terri Hooley, who discovered The Undertones and produced their breakthrough song Teenage Kicks. The film perfectly captures the spirit of the Northern Irish punk scene of the 70s and 80s, a group of misfits who were simply sick and tired of endless fighting of the Troubles, which are always looming in the background of the narrative, and just want to have a good time.
Terri Hooley, brilliantly played by Richard Dormer, makes for a fascinating protagonist. He is such an eccentric, passionate and hopelessly optimistic character, you can’t help but be swept up by his enthusiasm (facilitated by his wonderful Irish accent). He is however also naïve, unable to handle finances or maintain a healthy relationship with his wife and children, which gives him a certain edge and believability.
The directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn biggest strength is their ability to create several moments of intense emotional release and pure joy. In this sense, the film almost feels like a sports movie, with listening to a great punk song or having your record played on the BBC replacing the cup-final or the big fight. Funny, smart and above all fervid and inspiring, Good Vibration is a wonderful surprise from Northern Ireland, not just for punk fans of a certain age, but for all those who have a passion in their heart.