Director: Jake Gavin (2015)

A homeless pensioner begins a long road to self forgiveness and redemption in this touching British drama.

The always watchable Peter Mullan is once again excellent in the title role.

Hector has been gentleman of the road for fifteen years and though in poor health and history of mental illness, he lacks self pity and  retains a welcome Scots wit.

A chance meeting in Glasgow sets Hector off to Newcastle and London in search of his estranged family.

Britain is a bleak landscape of rain lashed service stations and shuttered shopfronts.

He is mugged and accused of theft but also receives small unexpected kindnesses. Each makes a mockery of the tatty commercialisation of Christmas littering the country.

In a test of faith loaded with potential for disaster, Hector frequently asks strangers to mind his suitcase.

This sense of trust in his fellow man makes us warm to him.

Though with his portly frame, white beard and orange hi vis coat, Hector’s the spirit of Christmas present no one wants a visit from.

When we discover his reason for his homelessness, this suitcase he drags around takes on a meaning worthy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (pub. 1843).

There’s strong support from Gina McKee and Ewan Stewart as his siblings who retain issues with each other while Stephen Tompkinson swears enjoyably as a cash conscious car dealer.

Without preaching the script gently reminds us of the need for compassion and charity, filling Hector with an abundance of festive spirit and warmth.

Merry Christmas.

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