We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Greatest Days review (2023) - fun summer musicals are Back for Good

Greatest Days knows its audience well. Directed by Coky Giedroyc, this feel-good flick is exactly what you'd expect a Take That musical movie to be like.

the cast of greatest days

Our Verdict

The corniness might try your Patience at times, but '90s kids will Love Love this film.

Where were you when you found out Take That had split? The States might’ve had the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, but for UK girlies in the ’90s, it was all about Take That. Universally, our innocent teenage love for boybands was the glue that bound a lot of lifelong friendships together, and as much as Greatest Days is a tribute to ‘the Boys,’ it’s what these boybands mean to us and how they drive our lives that is at the core of this new movie.

We meet Rachel (Aisling Bea) for the first time as a forty-something nurse who, amid the chaos of her job (which seems like a nice post-pandemic tribute), sometimes enters radio competitions for a bit of fun. To her surprise, she ends up winning the chance to see ‘the Boys’ on their reunion tour in Athens, but when asked about who she will take with her, she’s left dumbstruck.

Cue a return to 1993, which feels rooted in reality while also being vivid and full of the excitement and possibility that comes with youth. It’s quickly established that a 16-year-old Rachel (played by Lara McDonnell, whose one of the strongest performers in the cast along with her grown-up counterpart) hasn’t got the easiest of home lives. With her parents more concerned with arguing than taking care of her and her baby brother, we see ‘the Boys’ appear beyond our eyes as they help her dance and sing through daily chores in order to block out the chaos around her.

The idea that Rachel is able to ‘summon’ the Boys for imaginary dance numbers is executed surprisingly well in this Amazon Prime movie, with the magical realism leading to some fun, memorable, well-choreographed sequences that prevent the songs from feeling shoehorned in — for the most part.

YouTube Thumbnail

Through the flashback sequences, we get to know Rachel’s schoolfriends. The young cast largely lived together while the film was being made, and this comes through in their performances — they have an easy chemistry and are clearly a tight-knit group, with Eliza Dobson and Jessie Mae Alonzo being especially charismatic in the short time they’re on-screen.

The flashback sequences are probably the more drama movie-esque parts of the film because there’s this sense of foreboding where you know something bad is going to happen, but Bea also brings a lot of depth to the present-day scenes as she realistically tackles subjects like loss, trauma, and survivor’s guilt.

young rachel and the boys in greatest days

But Greatest Days is far from doom and gloom. The present-day, reunited girl gang going ham in Athens provides a lot of chucklesome moments, as does Marc Wooton, who plays Rachel’s long-suffering partner. It’s definitely a bit corny at times, and not all the jokes exactly land (one character’s weight gain is used as the punchline a little too much for my liking).

Still, it conveys a nice enough message about female friendship and loss — even if its delivery of that message is, at times, sickly sweet and at odds with poorly-timed Take That funeral songs. But if you’re looking to switch off for a bit, listen to some Take That, or get drunk with your mum at the cinema, this is the perfect film to do that.

Greatest Days is now in theatres and will be on streaming service Amazon Prime Video in the near future.