Heavy Load review

Mentally-challenged rock documentary

"I fell in love with them because they were happy," says director Jerry Rothwell of Sussex punk band Heavy Load, several of whose middle-aged members have learning disabilities. Shot over a two-year period, this warm and perceptive rockumentary follows the group in its efforts to record an album (nattily titled The Queen Mother's Dead) and play gigs at mainstream music venues.

The film demolishes stereotypes of the mentally challenged, celebrating the energy, desires and ambitions of its protags. There's charismatic singer Simon, who adds swearwords to cover versions, the laid-back Jim with his passion for nature and rambling and drummer Michael, who hopes to live independently and find a girlfriend.

Lyrically, meanwhile, it's clear these boys have talent: "We love George Michael because he's gay all week and gay at weekends."

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