Ayoade; screenwriter: based on the novel by Joe
Dunthorne; cinematographer: Erik Alexander Wilson;
Fenton/Chris Dickens; music: Andrew Hewitt, with songs by
Alex Turner; cast: Craig Roberts (Oliver Tate),
Yasmin Paige (Jordana Bevan), Sally Hawkins (Jill Tate),
Paddy Considine (Graham Purvis), Noah Taylor (Lloyd
Evans (Chips), Lily McCann (Zoe), Steffan Rhodri (Mr.
Davey), Osian Cai
Dulais (Mark); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: R;
Herbert/Andy Stebbing/Mary Burke; the Weinstein Company;
"It's an intriguing low-key film that makes you think Holden Caulfield."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A refreshingly playful, melancholy, droll-humored and quirky coming-of-age film written and directed by the Brit Richard Ayoade, in his auspicious directorial debut. It's based on the 2008 novel by Joe Dunthorne.
Oliver Tate (Craig
Roberts) is a flaky nerd daydreaming fifteen-year-old
high school student in Wales, who lives in a modestly
comfortable private house, that features a wonderful
scenic view, with his supportive parents whom he
thinks are undergoing a rough period in their
marriage. The lad makes it his mission to save the
marriage of his legal department office worker mom (Sally Hawkins) and his brilliant but
socially awkward marine biologist college lecturer
snoopy lad bases that the marriage is floundering on
his observation that his parents' bedroom dimmer
switch has not been used in seven months, which
indicates no sex. Also dad sits glumly watching TV at
night and hardly talks, while mom has taken a fancy to
weirdo self-help psychic guru Graham Purvis (Paddy
Considine), an ex-boyfriend who has recently moved in
next door, and once a week mom attends his New Age
At school the curious
lad sets his sights on losing his virginity with
pretty but self-professed
(Yasmin Paige), and equally odd and bright student
whose healthy outside appearance doesn't indicate how
damaged she is on the inside. The gist of the film has
the reserved Oliver use his rich imagination to score
with the unemotional Jordana, overcome being
bullied by the school bully and then try to win
Jordana back when he acts like a dick and she rejects
him for another classmate.
It's an intriguing low-key film that makes you think Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. The modest film is strangely appealing when it shows how the unpopular Oliver attracts the dominating Jordana only when she believes he caused grief to a fellow coed by bullying her and that he allows her to edit his private journals to fit her needs. Though there have been scores of coming-of-age films covering misfits and many with more depth, yet this one is an original that does wonders with the minor misfortunes tackled by our gawky romantic hero.
REVIEWED ON 10/31/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ