UK Release date: 18th March 2011
Watched on DVD Tuesday 5th June 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I know Richard Ayoade as an actor, primarily for his role in the UK TV series, ‘The IT Crowd’. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me that he had both written (adapted) and directed this film. It had a pretty good reception from the critics and so I thought I’d give it a go. Now, I don’t usually get on well with comedies (I often find them inane and stupid – & not in a funny way) but this one actually worked (for me). Not great guffaws and belly laughs, rolling around on the floor, but a much gentler, more intelligent comedy. But more of that later, here’s a very brief summary first.
Fifteen year-old Oliver Tate lives very much in his own world. One day he decides it was about time he found himself a girlfriend. He focuses his attentions on Jordana Bevan, a bit of a pyromaniac, but then there wasn’t a big pool to choose from. Somehow they hit it off and life is sweet, at least for a while. Of course there’s the whole thing about getting her into bed to get over, but I’ll let you discover just how that occurs (or doesn’t) for yourselves. Oliver’s attentions are now concerned with his parents, Lloyd and Jill Tate. It seems one of the neighbours, a self-styled psychic called Graham Purvis is and old flame of Jill’s. Oliver is afraid he might lure her away from his father and so sets his mind to saving the situation. Meanwhile, Jordana has problems at home with her mother and needs Oliver’s support. Will he do right by her? Well, I guess that would constitute a massive spoiler and the Spoiler Police are being a bit tough round here these days.
Beautifully shot in an almost washed-out style, I really enjoyed the bleakness of some of the scenes. The songs by Alex Turner and original music by Andrew Hewitt fitted in really well and gave the film a bit of an extra dimension. The two young stars; Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate and Yasmin Paige as Jordana Bevan were both excellent. Also worthy of note were; Sally Hawkins as Jill Tate, Noah Taylor as Lloyd Tate and Paddy Considine as Graham Purvis.
The story is narrated by Oliver Tate and consequently the world is skewed to his point of view. It put me in mind in some ways of Juno (2007), with some obvious differences. There were, however, a couple of things that didn’t quite work (for me); I didn’t quite get the whole infidelity thing with Oliver’s mother. Somehow it felt like it was a bit of an afterthought and therefore came over as a tad unconvincing. Over all though, a pretty enjoyable 97 minutes; a nice, gentle, coming-of-age comedy, one I have no problem in deeming… RECOMMENDED.
My score: 7.9/10
IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 19,164 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 76/100: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 87/100 (based on 137 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 18,976 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Oliver Tate: Jordana and I enjoyed an atavistic, glorious fortnight of lovemakin'; humiliatin' teachers and bullying the weak. I have already turned these moments into the Super-8 footage of memory.
Oliver Tate: We sat down to have what might have been Jordana's mother's last Christmas dinner, which I hope it wasn't because the turkey was a bit dry and the sprouts were soggy and out of focus.
Jordana Bevan: [Upon seeing Oliver's boudoir arrangement] Fuckin' aye! You're a serial killer!
Oliver Tate: Ask me how deep the ocean is.
Jordana Bevan: Shut up.
Oliver Tate: Come on, just ask me.
Jordana Bevan: Why?
Oliver Tate: 'Cause I know the answer.
Jordana Bevan: Oh! Do you?
Oliver Tate: Yes, I do.
Jordana Bevan: How deep is the ocean?
Oliver Tate: I'm not gonna say.
Jordana Bevan: I'm brokenhearted.
Oliver Tate: The ocean is six miles deep.
Jordana Bevan: Good.