Friday, December 09, 2011

Trapped in Adolescence's Submarine

Craig Roberts is Oliver Tate, a bright and very self-involved  kid; a bit of a Drama Queen, too (that certainly rings a bell). He would love it, if  there was the possibility of a film crew following his every move (personally, I would opt for a horde of paparazzis, and I'm not even an adolescent, see?). It's common before adulthood the feeling that young people are starring in their life's movie and that's ok; what's even worse is to actually feel you are a character in somebody else's life movie. True Story.

But, let's get back to Oliver: he's smart, he's low profile, he's virgin. The first two do not seem to help him a lot resolve the third, because bullies in his school seem to be more successful with girls and humiliate him for good, calling him names: quiet kids are gays, for kids with a lot of adrenaline; even Oliver's mum thinks the same.

One day Oliver decides to try and hook with Jordana, who looks interesting, has some extra kilos, so  he will not have rivals and, well, his birthday is approaching and he has to loose his virginity before that.

Then problems arise: his parents' relationship is going to the dogs, his mum has a fling with an old flame, who sees colours flowing out of people for God's sake, Jordana's mum has a brain tumour and despite his effort to be the best boyfriend, things don't come easy.

The film is very funny in a very British way -which I love, but this doesn't apply to everyone- and the young leads are surprisingly convincing that they really are the characters. Yasmin Paige, careful with those candies, darling, cause weight is essential to young actresses and you wouldn't like to spoil your future, right? Richard Ayoade's first feature shows quite some potential; I can't wait to see how he will treat grown ups in his future projects.

What really stuck me, once mor, is this dry physicality that you see sometimes within British content, the lack of tenderness and warmth as we know it, let's say in Mediterranean countries. Of course, we are stuck with mainly dysfunctional relationships here, but, how is it possible ever for a dry behaviour coming from the parents' side towards their kid? It is amazing, but it can be common. Within royal courts, for example. Or, well, Britain, apparently, even Germany or Luxembourg. This is the Submarine that plunges into deep ocean for me, the terrible awkwardness of adolescence which sometimes prevails during adulthood in the form  of a scaring formality. It sucks. And Ayoade knows that.

Let me  quote Kenneth Turan to close this: "Debut films come and debut films go, but Submarine is one to remember." Take his word for it.

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