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average rating is 4 out of 5


James Learoyd


Posted on:

May 5, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Brian Malone, Regan Linton
Written by:
Regan Linton, Megan McGuire, Lucy Roucis

Imperfect is as simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking a documentary as you will ever see. It’s important, and it’s occasionally profoundly upsetting; but it’s equally sweet and hopeful. It shows a team of actors with disabilities working towards a production of ‘Chicago’ - but that’s just the surface. It’s a film about passionate artists who are forced to live with a unique struggle – struggles few of us know. What this piece offers is a unique insight into how these individuals persevere... though more significantly, how they channel their love of performing despite limitations. The subjects of Imperfect create something extraordinarily special, and as does the documentary itself in showcasing such a sincere display of talent, solidarity and strength.


One of the best elements of the documentary is the way the viewer becomes deeply and personally familiar with so many real people: whilst the focus is the production, we get some very interesting, often heartbreaking, insights into the lives of those we’re seeing (their daily lives, how they choose to approach their situation). This particular manner of constructing the movie’s overall narrative is effective in both building anticipation and creating a deeper empathy in the audience. They’re also an incredibly charming and humorous group with a real sense of self, a love for what they do. Having the spectator share in their experience and worldview is a valuable use of the form.


The form in question, technically speaking, is quite minimalistic – focusing purely on those on screen or using narrative editing to accentuate a point. My meaning being that the film does not attempt to have a kind of colourful style or any operatic, transitional sequences (as documentaries often attempt) and nor does it need to. This is a movie about people, and purely that; a more stylistically expressive mode of doc-storytelling may even serve to undermine the very real struggles depicted. But despite this, the filmmaking is of quite a high quality: namely, the range of coverage provides the film with great scope.


There is a deeply sad element to this piece in that one of the wonderful performers – Lucy Roucis – tragically passed away. It’s a difficult event which is addressed most respectfully. Its inclusion in the film is essential in paying tribute to their incredible work; it’s also a beautiful showcase of how much she gave to the world through her art.


Imperfect is a deeply touching portrait of so many lives. It affirms a belief in artistic practice creating a strong bond; a sense of togetherness. It holds a lovely sentiment. Though sad as many events shown may be, the film is also a heartfelt celebration embracing individuality. The group supports each other in every way they can – something we can all aspire to. The film’s main focus - Regan Linton - encounters their own conflicts, doubts as creative director of the production, but what she crafts demonstrates just how much value and companionship a situation like this offers. Any viewer with that kind of passion inside them will appreciate the piece and those featured in it.

About the Film Critic
James Learoyd
James Learoyd
Indie Feature Film, Documentary
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