Jo Kennedy’s Mitch is poor but happy, hardworking but not downtrodden because of her sunny and non-judgmental outlook.She lets nutty Nique Needles move in to her one-room flat when he’s fresh out of prison and looking for somewhere to live. Needles is supposed to be playing a lovable loser, but his OTT and mannered performance grates and I never found him remotely funny or endearing.
Writer-director Mary Callaghan is trying to take a fresh and bright look at some pretty heavy subjects - crime, drugs and poverty - but her approach didn’t make engaging with the material any easier. Although her characters inhabit a believable Kings Cross milieu, Tender Hooks has a dated 1980s look and feel to it (probably unavoidable on the apparently tiny budget).The film is worth watching for Jo Kennedy’s warm and earthy performance. John Polson features in a modest, early role as a brutal lover/pimp of one of Kennedy’s girlfriends.