The film was directed by Julien Temple, featured David Bowie and Sade, and Patsy Kensit absolute beginners colin macinnes pdf one of her first mainstream roles. The film was screened out of competition at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.
Upon release, Absolute Beginners received immense coverage in the British media. However, the film was panned by critics and became a box office bomb. Bowie, who made it a condition of his musical contribution.
Although the film was not a success, Bowie’s theme song was very popular in the UK and reached number two in the charts. The commercial failure of Absolute Beginners and another film released about the same time, The Mission, led to the collapse of Goldcrest, a major British film studio. The film takes place in 1958, a time in which pop culture is transforming from 1950s jazz and early rock to a new generation on the verge of the 1960s. The storyline incorporates elements of the 1958 Notting Hill race riots.
Young photographer Colin falls in love with aspiring fashion designer Crepe Suzette but she’s only interested in her career. Colin tries to win her affections by taking a crack at the big time himself. Meanwhile, racial tensions heat up in Colin’s neighbourhood of London. Writing in The New York Times, film critic Caryn James was largely unmoved by the film and remarked upon the “uneveness” of Temple’s adaptation, and its “erratic” results.
Elsewhere Pauline Kael declared that, despite Temple’s bona fides, the musical is “peculiarly unlyrical and ephemeral”. What you don’t feel is the tormented romanticism that made English adolescents in the ’70s swear by the novel the way American kids had earlier sworn by The Catcher in the Rye. Jeremy Allen in The Guardian praised Bowie’s theme song but described the film as “an overbudget turkey of huge proportions”.