Story

A Street Cat Named Bob is based on the true story of London busker James Bowen (Luke Treadway). James is struggling to overcome heroin addiction. A social worker helps him to get off the streets in the hope that having a stable place to live will help James stick to his methadone program. In his new apartment, James is visited by a friendly stray cat that won’t leave his side. The cat, whom James names Bob, becomes James’s lifeline and helps him on his journey to recovery and reconciliation with his past.

Themes

Drug dependence; homelessness

Violence

A Street Cat Named Bob has some violence. For example:

  • A man walking his dog bullies James and Bob while they’re busking. The man encourages his dog to urinate on James’s busking case.
  • A fight breaks out between several men, and there’s a lot of angry shouting.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, A Street Cat Named Bob has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • James witnesses his friend overdosing from heroin and being taken to the hospital. His friend dies.
  • James’s friend Betty is distressed as she describes how her brother died as a result of an overdose.
  • James becomes very distressed when Bob goes missing.
  • James has a fractured relationship with his father. There are several scenes in which his father rejects him and tells him to leave.
  • James decides to go through withdrawal to kick his addiction. There is a nightmare-like montage that shows what it feels like for James to be locked in his flat, going through withdrawal symptoms.

From 5-8
Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Children in this age group might be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Younger viewers in this age group might be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

A Street Cat Named Bob has some mild romantic themes. For example:

  • James and Betty are attracted to each other. He talks about going on a date and buys her some flowers.
  • Betty talks about kissing James and falling in love with him.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is a lot of substance use in A Street Cat Named Bob. For example:

  • This movie is a realistic and gritty portrayal of heroin addiction. There are no scenes that show people injecting, but this is implied and needles are shown.
  • James has an overdose and wakes up in hospital.
  • James sees a friend overdose and die.
  • Betty discusses her brother’s overdose and death.
  • James goes through extreme heroin withdrawal symptoms.
  • A scene shows a drug deal on the street.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

A Street Cat Named Bob has some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

A Street Cat Named Bob is based on the autobiography of the same name and other books by James Bowen. Despite its serious themes, this movie is very uplifting. It’s also lightened by the excellent performance of Bob the cat (who plays himself), great music and a positive message about the possibility of overcoming adversity.

This movie is a gritty and realistic story featuring drug dependence and homelessness, so it isn’t recommended for children under 11 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 11-15 years.

This movie provides an excellent opportunity to talk with older children about drugs and other serious issues, and also about the strength and importance of our connections to other people and animals.