The heartwarming friendship between Big Issue vendor James Bowen and the adorable ginger tom cat Bob won the hearts of the nation, leading to a number of international best-selling books documenting their touching journey. Director Roger Spottiswoode brought their inspiring tale to the big screen in 2016’s A Street Cat Named Bob, with the festive sequel, A Christmas Gift From Bob, channeling real A Christmas Carol vibes.
After feeling out of place at a publisher party following the success of his autobiography, James (Luke Treadaway) leaves early and helps a young homeless busker escape arrest. Taking him under his wing, he recounts the struggles he experienced last Christmas living in sheltered accommodation. Facing an investigation from the council’s animal welfare unit which threatens to tear the two apart, James also battled with irresponsible dog owners and trying to make enough to pay the electricity and vet bills.
Traveling back to the ghost of Christmas past, director Charles Martin Smith portrays a timely message about homelessness and those that are struggling to make ends meet, particularly in the festive period. Even though James has conquered his drug addiction and lives in sheltered accommodation, he still finds it difficult to earn enough from busking and selling The Big Issue to pay the electricity bill. Throughout the film there’s plenty of low stake hurdles for the duo to overcome, with the Animal Welfare investigation proving the main crux. It’s here where the film truly comes to life, as James and Bob’s various friends and fans heartwarmingly come together to campaign for the cat to stay with his best friend. There’s a real good-hearted nature to the sequel which feels very festive, highlighting the power of friendships and community.
Luke Treadaway returns as James, bringing a sincere and gentle earnestness to the film. The real star of the show however is Bob who was once again involved in the filming, alongside several other ginger moggies. There’s plenty of adorable moments highlighting their wonderful friendship, including cat high fives, sweet Bob themed Christmas carols and Bob playing with their first Christmas tree (eventually knocking it over of course!) James’ support network, including local newsagent owner Moody (played by the brilliant Phaldut Sharma), help guide the busker throughout, keeping him on the right path.
Featuring a wonderful Christmas message, A Christmas Gift From Bob is a heartwarming and uplifting film – and definitely one we need this year!