Essentially a condensed version of the accomplished South African TV show, Hopeville has made its way onto the big screen.


Again produced by Heartlines — an NGO that helps people live
according to good values — it takes the moral high ground. Thats hard
to do without coming across as preachy, but the film — like the series —
succeeds, in part thanks to the fine acting.


Former Generations actor Themba Ndaba, for instance, does an
amazing job as the protagonist Amos Manyani, a recovering alcoholic who
gets the opportunity to live with his estranged son. So convincing is
he in the role that you may find yourself having to fight back a few
tears along the way. You
e exposed to both his struggle and joy as he
attempts to bond with his son and restore the community swimming pool.
Junior Singo plays the son who takes on a bad attitude as he finds it
difficult to adjust to the derelict town of Hopeville, a far cry from
his usual bustling city life. Like the amazing young actor he is, he
eases through his role as it grows and develops.


But its not all serious with the addition of colourful characters —
like the local mayor who is corrupt and uses resources meant to empower
the community for his own benefit. Like the comedian he is, Desmond Dube
tackles the character with loads of humour and powerful one liners
which are highly effective at providing relief from the seriousness of
the issues addressed.


Fana Mokoena is also astounding as the naive and vulnerable (mayors
sidekick) cop who takes bribes and doesn think twice about cutting the
power lines to ruin a good cause. And the beautiful Terry Pheto doesn
go without mention in her role as Fikile, an illegal immigrant cue
mayors mistress, who eventually falls for Amos.


Despite the powerful performances, one drawback of adapting a series
for a 90-minute film is that we don get to spend much time with all
the characters as they grow and develop — like Khoabane, who eventually
takes responsibility for his corruption and domestic violence.


Instead of focusing on the individual, the movie attempts to capture
or cover the overall message associated with Amos overcoming his issues
to become a hero for his son and the entire community.


As such the movie won offer the same excitement and anticipation as
the series journey through the story and characters, but it remains a
worthwhile watch. The story is convincing, the actors are some of the
finest, and, most importantly of all, the values and morals it knocks in
are real. You will be inspired to feel good — and do good too.