***** Give Them Wings: A true story that opens a window into the life of a severely disabled Darlington FC fan Paul Hodgson. The film is an adaptation of his award-winning autobiography ‘Flipper’s Side.’

5 out of 5 Stars

A film review by Jamie Richardson for Just Celebrity Magazine

The opening scene is of an overcast sky so typical of northern Britain, the houses dark bricked, just another quiet, normal nondescript road; a young man, Paul Hodgson (played by Daniel Watson), a wheelchair user watches his father, Norman Hodgson (played by Bill Fellows) a pigeon fancier tend to his birds. At the outset the viewer is made privy to a dysfunctional family; the husband and wife have drifted apart, any affection and love that they had has given way to anguish, despair and agony to each other. The wheelchair user Paul has watched the separation grow over the years; however, he remains calm and supportive to his mother, Alice Hodgson (wonderfully played by Toyah Willcox). The film follows the daily life of Paul who at birth contracted meningococcal meningitis, he is a wheelchair user he has very limited function of his hands and fingers as well as a severe stammer. Daniel should be commended on his wonderful performance throughout this beautiful film!

Is it me or does it come naturally, when seeing or meeting a disabled person a sympathetic resonance permeates, this is definitely the case when watching Paul, in reality that is the last thing a wheelchair user wants. However, it was very refreshing to see in the film that Paul’s friends at the pub saw past his disability and were simply enjoying a ‘lads’ night out.’

The climax using the Darlington FC match as the catalyst was wonderful to watch; I won’t say anymore as it will give the story away but you may well need a few tissues for the ending of this beautiful film!

Sean Cronin is best known for playing villains, his first directorial film was Escape to Gossau which he co-directed with Michael Koltes. When chosen to direct GIVE THEM WINGS Sean Cronin said this is a hugely important film that tackles discrimination of the disabled and turns it on its head, a film that teaches mankind that we must accept people for ‘who they are’ and not what they ‘appear to be’.  I was hugely honoured to have been chosen to bring Paul’s incredible story to the big screen”.

Tero Saikkonen is an award winning director of photography from Europe, Finland. His first film “Rendel” was Finland’s first superhero film. He has a strong unique style with the harmony of light, colours and shadows to bring the story to life and he does this with great success in Give Them Wings.

Kelly Toode is a production and costume designer, her credits include Walking Against The Rain, Election Night and Give Them Wings. Kelly’s attention to detail in the film is detailed and very thorough; I particularly liked the hairstyles and when Paul is going for the job interview his mother cuts Paul’s hair and gives him a side parting; that is very period correct.

What a film! Give Them Wings is a beautifully acted and well directed story, a well made film and well told story of Paul Hodgson’s life!

Watch the film now on Amazon Prime!


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