Paul Potts is real. His audition on "Britain's Got Talent" as a chronically insecure mobile phone salesman with a passion for opera is still on YouTube. He tackles "Nessun Dorma" and, flawed as his performance is, its passion, and the beauty of his voice, sweeps him into the big time.
The film opens with a young Paul, played by Christopher Bull, being chased by bullies. We see his mother (Julie Walters) fiercely protective of his dreams. His father wants him to be realistic, and work at the steel mills.
The adult Paul (James Corden) is lucky in his friends – the terminally incompetent mobile phone shop manager and his punk girl-friend – who encourage him to actually meet a girl whom he has texting for over a year.
It is very hard to portray a truly good person on screen, but Alexandra Roach who plays Julie Anne Cooper succeeds brilliantly. This is the girl we would like all of our sons to meet and marry.
Julie Anne persuades Paul to enter a talent contest which funds him to go to an opera school in Venice, where he does well until he "chokes" during an audition with Pavarotti.
Returning, discouraged, to mobile phone sales, he has a series of misfortunes before, on the toss of a coin, entering the competition which will change his life.
This is a "feel-good" movie, with heroes, heroines and villains. Throughout there is wonderful music. The photography contrasts the bleakness of the mill town with the glories of Venice.
We know the end – and yet we still feel the unease, the heartaches, and the joy.
Paul Potts had a hard road to travel to his "One Chance". This excellent film lets us take that journey with him.