this gem of a British made film directed by Debbie Isitt. Martin Freeman is excellent as the weary primary teacher, Mr Maddens, who gets landed with producing this year's Nativity play for his underachieving school. His regular routines are completely disrupted by the arrival of an over exuberant teaching assistant, Mr Poppy, who unwittingly challenges the staus quo. Meanwhile in the 'posh' school down the road Mr Maddens' former drama school colleague always gets top reviews for his near perfect, yet clinical, productions.
As the story unfolds humour and pathos run hand in hand yielding tears of laughter and heartbreak in equal measure. Despite slipping into some of the ghastly music that Hollywood has shoehorned into Christmas there is an amazing scene towards the end which I felt had deep theological significance alongside the film's overall themes of restoring creativity, self-esteem, inspiration, grace, redemption and forgiveness. How institutions need a Mr Poppy!
Heartily recommended - 4 stars out of 5.