The delightful Hunky Dory, which premiered this week at the SXSW Film Festival, is set in a high school, stars a cast of unknowns singing contemporary pop songs as they put together a musical production, and features an established star (Minnie Driver) as their big-hearted-but-flawed teacher. So even though the film is set in 1976 in a small seaside community in Wales — and has been in development for the past eight years — the filmmakers know that comparisons to Glee are all but inevitable.
“The beautiful thing is that all you have to do is look at our movie and watch an episode of Glee to see just how diametrically opposed they are,” says Driver, and she’s not wrong. Hunky Dory feels much more akin to easy-going, slice-of-life films like Dazed and Confused and American Graffiti. With Glee, says Driver, “You’ve got this highly produced, highly polished, brilliant, clean version of the musical. There is nothing in Glee that isn’t micro-managed. It’s a very big machine. Whereas ours was the daisies growing up between the pavement. There’s room for both things.”