Sean Cronin’s GIVE THEM WINGS – The true story of a disabled man’s journey

GIVE THEM WINGS is an important film that encourages the audience to reexamine what it means to live with a disability, and the difficulties this minority group must overcome while also promoting acceptance of others despite our differences.

Sean Cronin’s second feature entitled GIVE THEM WINGS British feature was inspired by the autobiography Paul Hodgson: Give them Wings which details the life of disabled Darlington man Paul Hodgson. The project has been several years in the making and relied on crowd funding for its budget, with Hodgson’s hometown community contributing to the majority of the film’s production. This feature stars a spectacular cast with Daniel Watson playing the lead as Paul Hodgson, Toyah Wilcox (Jubilee) playing his mother Alice, and Bill Fellows (Ted Lasso) as the father. Cronin also makes a memorable appearance as a menacing thug that attacks the lead in a pivotal moment. Hodgson assisted in writing the screenplay for Cronin’s inspiring film, he is now happily married in his 50s and an award-winning screenwriter and producer. 

GIVE THEM WINGS takes place in 1989 in the town of Darlington, England. This ninety minute movie recounts the incredible true story of Paul’s life and his journey of self discovery, discrimination, love, and reconcillation. This ambitious film shares Paul’s struggle to care for his mother, his experience with trying to be independent as a disabled man, and the loyalty and compassion he finds from his friends and the community around him. The only character who seems unable to Paul’s endearing sarcasm and self deprecation is his headstrong father. Their complex relationship is one of the major obstacles Paul attempts to facilitate throughout the film. “This is the kind of real human interest film that hits a beat. The fact that Paul is still alive is nothing short of incredible, and he’s just so positive,” Cronin said about the author and inspiration behind his film. 

This ninety minute movie recounts the incredible true story of Paul’s life and his journey of self discovery, discrimination, love, and reconcillation.

Cronin himself is not only an accomplished director, but proves his acting prowess in one of the most powerful performances in the movies. Sean is absolutely sinister, and his decades of experience playing memorable and terrifying villains was demonstrated in a short intense scene where he completely dominates the screen. He looms in the background of a bar where Paul and his friends have gotten obnoxiously drunk after watching a sports game. Cronin is able to convey his dark presence so intensely that he eclipses all other actors in the scene, and is somehow able to project his predatory gaze through the screen and incite a fear response within the audience with the strength and skill of a seasoned actor who is at the top of his craft. Hopefully his menacing character returns for the sequel which is rumoured to already be written and ready for pre production. 

Sean is absolutely sinister, and his decades of experience playing memorable and terrifying villains was demonstrated in a short intense scene where he completely dominates the screen.

Daniel Watson should also be recognized for his outstanding performance playing a disabled man realistically as an able-bodied actor. His nuanced mannerisms such as the angles of his fingers and legs while in the wheelchair, and the difficulty of balancing a realistic speech impediment with clarity of dialogue for the audience was done with skillful authenticity. His comedic timing makes this movie memorable and adds a much needed counterbalance to some of the darker themes covered. Paul’s unflinchingly loyal and absolutely hilarious best friend was played by Jacon Anterton, whose dynamic performance was able to easily navigate comedic scenes and more intense heartfelt ones with ease. 

The movie uses darkly lit rooms, and narrow hallways to illustrate Paul’s feeling of suffocation and discomfort. His father purposely doesn’t accommodate his son’s disability, and this is underscored by the set design and lighting of certain scenes. This movie is an unwavering feel good film that is obviously beloved by the cast and crew who were dedicated to seeing it’s debut as a labour of love. GIVE THEM WINGS is an important film that encourages the audience to reexamine what it means to live with a disability, and the difficulties this minority group must overcome while also promoting acceptance of others despite our differences. Paul’s unwavering resolve in the face of adversity is an inspiration to anyone who has the pleasure of experiencing this heartwarming film. The ludicrously silly, yet uplifting ending will sweep you off your feet and leave you with positive feelings of heartfelt satisfaction. 

GIVE THEM WINGS IS AVAILABLE NOW

B. Rivera

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