Submarine: The Awkward Life of a Fifteen Year Old Boy

Directed by Richard Ayoade (who plays Moss in The IT Crowd on Channel Four) and produced by Ben Stiller, this Film4 movie tells the story of an out of place fifteen-year-old boy from Swansea trying to find his place in the late eighties.

Oliver Tate (played by Craig Roberts who’s known for the role of Rio from The Story of Tracey Beaker) is a character that some teens may find relatable. He’s the nerdy and bullied outcast with a depressed father, a mother who’s playing away from home with ex-sweetheart Graham (played by Paddy). Like any other teenager, the character of Oliver likes to daydream in class only, he likes to imagine dying (suicide being suggested as the method but not confirmed) and having the nation of Wales mourn the loss of him. The dream sequence is slightly disturbing and over exaggerated but runs smoothly alongside the rest of the scene where the “love of his life” is introduced.

Jordanna Bavent (Yasmin Paige), a sassy fifteen year old with a passion for narcissism is the girl that our leading star sees himself with. His goal is to not only become her boyfriend but to lose his virginity to her – the goal of any other boy his age. As a character, Jordanna is a little too large for her own boots. She’s played off as the type of girl who eats boys for breakfast and doesn’t really care about anything or anyone. She smokes, she finds victimising people fun, she starts fires, lets off fireworks and just doesn’t seem to follow any rules. Even though towards the end, her character becomes a lot more emotionally involved with people around her, Oliver included, she just seems to be a character that could be cut down a little.

The relationship between Oliver’s parents is crumbling away during the movie; his father Lloyd (played by Noah Taylor) ended up losing his lecturing job which brings on depression, which Oliver seems to try and match with his broken heart. What happens with his parents' relationship kind of confuses me though – it seems to start to get better once his mother (Sally Hawkins) has had a sort-of affair with Graham and admits to her husband and Oliver that she gave Graham a handjob.

The acting in this movie is brilliant, Roberts and Paige having shown that they deserve the main roles; the accompanying music (composed by Arctic Monkey’s star, Alex Turner) fits the plot well but the movie as a whole is an awkward experience.

The way Oliver monitors the fact that his parents aren’t having sex and even at one point tries to encourage them to have relations by sending his mother a letter supposedly sent by his father – I just can’t see a teenager ever doing anything like that. And there’s also the fact that toward the end, his parents are quite happy to discuss his mother’s adultery – did parents in the eighties really discuss this kind of thing with their child? They certainly don’t these days.

Overall, I’m going to give the movie a two and a half out of five due to it not really being able to hold my attention for the full ninety-seven minutes.

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