Hallam Foe


by Johnny Web

Hallam Foe is one of the best of the 1960s wave of British films which made a separate genre out of the tragic yet madcap antics of mentally ill young men. I can't remember exactly, but I think it came in between Billy Liar and Morgan.

Wait a second. That chick from Mallrats is in it, and she hadn't even been  born in 1965.

What the heck?

Oh, sorry. This excellent 1965 film was actually made in 2007! My bad. I missed a few years on my calendar. I was never any good at tearing those days off when they pass.

And Claire Forlani is playing the guy's beautiful but wicked, scheming stepmother? Claire Forlani is Joan Collins now? Wow. I really did miss a few years along the way.

Hallam is a troubled 17-year-old who took to living in a high treehouse when his mother died, murdered - or so he thinks - by his step-mother. One wall of the treehouse contains a giant photo enlargement of mom, fronted by candles, incense, and the other accoutrements of shrinehood. From his lofty arboreal vantage point Hallam engages in his two favorite activities: peeping on people with his binoculars, and swinging down from the tree half-naked while wearing a badger on his head.

Needless to say, relations between his father and stepmother are somewhat strained by the constant accusations that stepmom killed mom, and that strain is stretched to the breaking point when Hallam and stepmom have sex in the treehouse. His rich dad kicks Hallam out of their country estate. The boy migrates to London where he takes up life as a homeless person. Nothing in life seems to motivate him until he sees a pretty woman who looks exactly like his dead mother. He stalks her and, when she turns out to be in the middle management of a hotel, cajoles a busboy job from her. Given the rather poor pay for 17-year-old busboys and the rather high costs of life in London, he makes a home by nesting inside the clock-tower of the hotel, a roost which also turns out to be ideal for his avocation as a Peeping Tom. Conveniently, the mom look-alike lives nearby, and Hallam can spy on her. Eventually he becomes more daring and scampers across the roofs until he can actually watch his surrogate mom from her own skylight. He even watches her having sex. The married slimebag she's sleeping with finds out that Hallam is watching, so he gives her an extra vigorous and dominant rogering, then looks up at Hallam to show the lad that he's aware of him. Eventually Hallam will also end up in a sexual relationship with the look-alike mom, and that doesn't go too badly until she finds out (in a rather dramatic fashion) about the peeping. She's also not too thrilled with the fact that when the lad is with her he thinks he's fucking his dead mom. Those elements put kind of a damper on the romance ...

... but Hallam needs to achieve at least a measure of reconciliation with her, and with his father.

The kid from Billy Elliott, now pretty much grown (he's actually 21, but his character turns 18 in the film), does a good job at negotiating the balance between the a crazed stalking of a dangerous man and the troubled obsession of one who is  ultimately a good person. We neither like nor hate him, but somehow find ourselves engaged in his life anyway, and that indicates the the screenwriter really created some interesting characters and situations. If you really miss those 1960s British dramedies about lovably quixotic loonies, this film will provide some excellent faux nostalgia.



* No Region 1 DVD information available at this time

Region 2 info here








It won some nominations and awards among Scottish films, British Indies, and film festivals.

3 Guardian (of 5 stars)
4 BBC (of 5 stars)
86 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)


7.7 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. It had a brief theatrical run in the UK. 98 theaters for one week, grossing about a quarter of a million dollars.



  • Claire Forlani: one frame of pubic hair
  • Sophia Myles: breasts in a spirited sex scene
  • Jamie Sives: buns in the sex scene with Myles
  • Jamie Bell: buns in several scenes.
  • Ruth Milne: brief flashes of breasts in a sex scene edited to hide her flesh.

Web www.scoopy.com

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Quite an interesting and personal retro movie, both in the nature of the story and the visual presentation of it.