On Wednesday 15th September 2010 I was lucky enough to attend the premiere of The Kid, directed by Nick Moran, at the Odeon Cinemas in Leicester Square, thanks to a wonderful gesture by Penguin Books. "The Kid", which is being released in the cinemas today, is the screen adaptation of the bestselling books by Kevin Lewis, The Kid, and The Kid Moves On, which describe his life. Kevin Lewis's tale is a simultaneously sad and inspirational one. Growing up on a poor London estate he was subjected to severe abuse by his parents, in particular his mother, and then passed from foster home to foster home. His moments of relief and joy were constantly followed by more moments of pain and sadness and, above all, violence, until eventually he was able to find a way out.
The cast includes Rupert Friend, who takes the lead role as Kevin Lewis in his adult years, whilst Augustus Prew and William Fin Miller play him as a teen and a child respectively. Natascha McElhone plays Kevin's mother Gloria and Con O'Neill his father Dennis and Jodie Whittaker his wife Jackie. Then there are a whole host of other excellent actors, including Ioan Gruffudd, Bernard Hill and David O’Hara. The performances are generally convincing, and whilst there are many scenes of abuse and violence, yet I feel Nick Moran does well to present this effectively without going to extremes.
I wish I could say more about the movie, but I do not wish to give the plot away. Suffice to say that this movie, and the books that inspired them, deal with very serious issues, not for the faint of heart. Yet, what is much more important is the message of hope that this story gives to young people who may be suffering similar issues, and thus it is no surprise that the NSPCC has teamed up with the producers on this project to promote awareness of child abuse but also to promote this message of hope.
The premiere itself was an amazing event. Being my first time on the red carpet (unfortunately the press, photographers and fans took no interest at all) I was completely overwhelmed and entirely giddy. As expected, everyone looked absolutely gorgeous, and black seemed to be the colour of choice for those involved with the film. In addition to the excellent cast, a number of celebrities attended the event. Yet it was undoubtedly Kylie Minogue who had the biggest impact. Ms Minogue was present as an ambassador for the NSPCC at the event and gave a lovely speech on stage before the start of the film. However, I was most touched by the speech of Kevin Lewis himself, who decided not to watch the film with the rest of us due to the emotional impact that the entire story still had on him, a story that he had not originally intended to make public, but had written to share with his wife, Jackie. I think we were all touched when he admitted still feeling embarrassed about his story, despite the fact that he was the victim and despite the fact that he worked so hard and succeeded in changing his life around, escaping the circle of the abused becoming an abuser that so many others fall in to. An incredible man indeed.
Penguin Books for providing me the entry tickets, to Odeon Cinema Leicester Square for hosting the event and above all to Kevin Lewis for sharing his story with us and allowing it to be made into a film, despite the difficulty it caused him revisiting his past.