My what a slow start. Treacle Jr begins by introducing us to Tom (Fisher), a man who seems happily married with a baby and nice house. Then Tom runs away to the city where he has decided to live on the streets.

Tom meets Aidan (Gillen). He's a real 'character' - the kind of guy who you hope doesn't sit next to you on the bus as they prattle on about anything and everything. Aidan sits next to Tom, and Tom never gets away. Tom is drawn back to Aidan again and again and learns of the hardships he faces.

All of these hardships Aidan reacts to with awe-inspiring good humour, leading Tom to question the magnitude of his own problems.

The film doesn't really kick off until Aidan's arrival but this is very much Tom's story. Tom has the character arc while Aidan continues to be resolutely good-natured. They both make important changes towards the end, but Tom's are based on the development of his character whereas Aidan's are based upon untapped depth which was there all along.

Gillen gives a fantastic performance as his namesake and deserves high praise for it. But the ostentatious nature of his character lends itself to a remarkable turn. Fisher, on the other hand, is wonderfully understated, while Riann Steele is also excellent, revealing some of the history of an angry character who acts as a catalyst for much of the change in the film.

Treacle Jr is certainly a pleasant little drama, even though the pace is a bit slow at times. There's not a whole lot going on outside the main plot and the ending is probably a bit too understated - leaving some questions about the lasting effects of the events depicted - but it's still heartwarming enough to make it worthwhile.

Richard Duffy