Film Review: Submarine

Film Review: Submarine is an Underrated Coming of Age Movie

I’m guessing that most of you won’t have heard of this movie and even less of you will have actually watched it. For those of you who think that the poster is vaguely familiar to you, it’s probably because it was advertised on the underground and you probably passed it everyday on your way to work (if you’re British anyway). This is a fresh British comedy and is director Richard Ayoade’s debut film. What’s so unique about Submarine is that it doesn’t revolve around your usual teen drama. It isn’t a high school drama with the set out social circles and same old jokes, it is real. The protagonists aren’t the hottest people in school or the most popular. It’s a story about two teenagers trying to figure out their lives, their relationship and their family issues.

The plot basically revolves around Oliver and Jordana during that ‘coming-of-age’ period of their lives. Oliver seems to be the school loser and Jodana has that ‘too-cool-for-school’ air going on. They seem to make quite an unusual pairing, but perhaps that’s what’s so brilliant about them. Oliver seems shy and nervous but he knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to try. One of his main goals in life is to lose his virginity before his next birthday… I guess he has that in common with every other teenage boy, but apart from that, his character is quite unique.

He struggles to try and mend the crumbling relationship between his parents at the same time he is trying to figure out his own relationship and what his feelings for Jordana are. Jordana herself doesn’t let on a lot about her personal life at all, until one moment when she suddenly decides that she trusts Oliver and she opens up to him. However, she is very upfront about her feelings and isn’t afraid to say what she’s thinking, she’s definitely the ‘man’ of the relationship. At first their relationship seems like just a bit of fun but as time goes on both of them begin to wonder if they want more. Both have complicated family lives and this further complicates their own relationship.

The pair live in a remote British village where there aren’t any cinemas or shops or cool teen places to hang and it’s the perfect setting for the story because it means you don’t get distracted by the generic going ons of a busy city. Even the clothes they wear are pretty much the same the entire way through the movie ensuring the focus really is upon their acting and the story they’re telling. The idea of this movie was that it wouldn’t be set in any particular time; however, there are no mobile phones and they are still using polaroid cameras so there is the suggestion that it is set in the 80s.

The acting is really really good in this, the story is sort of raw and edgy and they used the perfect cast for this. There are couple of familiar faces who perhaps you won’t be able to pinpoint so I’ll remind you. The protagonist, Oliver Tate, is played by Craig Roberts, who some teenagers may recognise from the CBBC shows ‘Young Dracula’ and ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’. Jordana is played by Yasmin Paige who also portrayed Maria Jackson in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ (also on CBBC) as well as many other works including the film Ballet Shoes (which also starred Harry Potter actress Emma Watson).

You’ll also recognise Noah Taylor, who plays Oliver’s dad, previously known as ‘Mr Bucket’ from the most recent adaption of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oliver’s mother is played by Sally Hawkins who was also in Made in Dagenham and Happy-Go-Lucky. I could on, but I won’t bore you with more facts, so if you really want check the film out on wikipedia here: Submarine (2010 film). As you can see, although the names of these actors aren’t instantly recognisable, you’ll find that you’ve seen them many many times before and all their faces should be familiar to you. There is quite a small bunch of actors in this film and that really helps to keep the plot together and keep the focus of the film.

I have to admit despite the fact I had been bombarded by adverts for this film on the London Underground I still wasn’t that keen to see this movie. I mean, just look at the promotional poster, all I see is an awkward teenage boy. Now I see the beauty of the simplicity of the poster. This film really is quite under-rated and I think it should be more popular and given the credit that it deserves.

I love the awkwardness between the characters at times because let’s be honest, relationships don’t go smoothly and flow like a river there are bumps and uncertainties on the way. I also love that this movie doesn’t try to cover up the true dramas that people face in their lives but it portrays them accurately and realistically. I’d say this film would probably relate better to British audiences, it sort of captures the essence of teenage life away from the hustle and bustle of big English cities, but I’m sure that other audiences will also be captivated by this story. I highly recommend this movie to everyone and anyone and I implore you to please, please, please, give it the chance that it deserves.

If you liked this post, check out these:

The First Time Film Review
The Runaways Film Review

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