Cemetery Junction puts Reading on the mapBy Caroline Cook
April 16, 2010
It may not look anything like the real Cemetery Junction but Ricky Gervais has put the area on the map with his latest smash hit movie which opened on Wednesday.
The eponymously titled flick is the comedian’s latest film venture and getreading went along to the first screening of the day at the Vue cinema at The Oracle to find out just how much Reading has inspired it.
The coming-of-age tale is a witty journey into the lives of three boys struggling to cope with jobs, girls, and having to grow up in a town like Reading.
But the tale is far more mature than anything Gervais has offered in the past. It is a welcome break from the light-hearted comedy in his previous films to something far more heartfelt.
Taking a small step back from the camera, Gervais makes an impressive mark off-screen, writing and directing a brilliant script with comedy partner Stephen Merchant which paves the way for an extremely talented, and notably British, cast.
Watching Freddie’s uptight and wealthy boss ask if Cemetery Junction is “still a dump” you get the feeling that although Gervais frequently mocks the area he still relishes a fondness for the place where he grew up.
At one point the characters go to The Majestic, Reading’s famous former dance hall and there are also fleeting references to Reading Football Club and Whitley homes. And of course the Reading Post of 30 years ago makes an appearance as it is read at the dinner table by Gervais’ character.
Gervais mocks the area with a tongue-in-cheek humour and when Freddie mentions leaving the town his mother replies, “Why would you want to go to Paris when there’s parts of Reading you haven’t seen?”
Although he pokes fun at Reading, the former Whitley lad has been inspired by the area to create a tale both extremely funny and earnestly heart-warming. It may be about growing up and getting away from Cemetery Junction but it seems, lucky for us, Gervais can’t quite leave his roots behind.
For cinema times and more visit www.myvue.com.
Belinda Hawkins, 34, Southcote: “It’s brilliant. It was not what we were expecting from Ricky Gervais, it was quite serious really. It was good to have the references to Reading, it really makes you smile.”
Helen Viney, 29, Welford Road, Woodley: “It is really good. Nothing to do with Reading but it was very heart warming and very emotional.”
Pam Brown, 56, Woodley: “The English actors were very good, it was realistic. It reminded me of my youth. I can imagine it is nothing like Reading was then but it was very nice.”
Neil Watkins, 40, Mapledurham: “I enjoyed it. There’s some very good black humour in it, you could tell it was written by Ricky Gervais. Anyone who expected to see Reading in the 70s will be disappointed, it looked more like a town in South Oxfordshire. It looked far more glamorous than Cemetery Junction.”
Jean Gould, 81, Caversham Heights: “We enjoyed it very much. It was very true to life, especially the dance hall. I used to go to The Majestic dance hall, I remember it very well. It was a good film. I thought it was very true to how things are, it takes me back.”
Stacey Gould, 17, Caversham: “I thought it was not going to be as good as it was. It was good when they mentioned Reading Football Club but where it is located I did not think was much like Reading.”
Matthew Foakes, 18, Cockney Hill, Tilehurst: “It was good. I didn’t think it was noticeably Reading though they talked about Whitley. I really enjoyed it, it’s very funny, very Ricky Gervais.”
Have you seen Cemetery Junction? Tell us what you think.