Urban Hymn is a UK-produced drama about redemption and inspiration. Although it covers previously covered territory, it’s an entertaining and rewarding exploration about poverty, crime and the legal system.

The film follows Kate Linton (Shirley Henderson of Trainspotting fame), a social worker who naively applies to work at a youth detention centre, where she is in charge of mentoring young female offenders who are rehabilitating into society. When everybody else on her team refuses to mentor violent offender Jamie (Letitia Wright), Kate accepts the challenge and during the encounters discovers that Jamie has a beautiful singing voice. She encourages her to join the local choir, in which Kate also sings. With a new sense of purpose, Jamie thrives in the artistic and encouraging environment. Jamie’s downfall, however, is her best friend, Leanne (Isabella Laughland, of the Harry Potter movies), an ultra-violent girl with a quick temper and criminal mind. The two girls are inseparable, and after Jamie is offered an audition by music teacher Charlie (Shaun Parkes) to study at his school, Leanne’s antics threaten to destroy Jamie’s chances of escaping her troubled past. Jamie and Leanne’s friendship ultimately proves fatal but provides the impetus for Jamie to cling onto a promising future.

Urban Hymn is an involving and interesting drama that explores the relationship between mentor and youth. Content wise, the movie offers no new ground, although the movie’s setting during the UK’s 2011 England Riots provides an interesting historical context. The film covers all the standard plot lines conventionally well, and viewers may be enthralled by Kate’s messiah-like sacrifice towards the end of the movie. It’s an interesting and at times engrossing watch, but nothing stands out nor distracts from the story. In the end, it’s a movie that follows one young girl’s ambition to escape her troubled past. This is a movie best saved for your next Netflix binge.