Greek-born widower Harry Papadopoulos (Stephen Dillane) is a self-made millionaire, living an extravagant London lifestyle. But when his business empire crashes thanks to the economic crisis, he's forced to pack up his three kids and move into the flat above the disused family fish and chip shop. And with the help of his long-estranged older brother Spiros (Corraface), the clan set themselves to the task of getting the shop up and running again – along the way dealing with a raft of family issues.
Papadopoulos & Sons is a gentle, warm-hearted comic drama from first-time filmmaker Markou. The plot is perfect for our cash-strapped times, and the solution rings true too. It's conventional and formulaic – from the outset, you know exactly where the plot is heading – but it's so well crafted, and the performances so engaging, that you cannot help but enjoy the ride.
Stephen Dillane's performance as patriarch Harry is the heart and soul of the film. Best known for His TV work – in particular John Adams, Hunted and game of Thrones – Dillane shows a dramatic range and a flair for comedy that make Harry a sympathetic and believable character. The rest of the cast is solid too, with Stephen's real-life son Frank perfect as screen son James, and Groome putting in a fine turn as daughter Katie. Corraface, too, is perfect as the freewheeling brother, who retains more of the family's Greek roots than Harry does.
The biggest surprise of Papadopoulos & Sons is that it is Markou's very first feature film. It's well written, beautifully shot and tightly directed – you'd swear that Markou had been making films for years. The dramatic and humorous elements fit together nicely, and all the family relationships ring true and feel just right. Apart from a couple of romantic sub-plots that feel a bit neglected, Markou has put together a fantastic feel-good film that deserves to find a big audience.