The University’s well-known Foreign Film series started the season with a coming-of-age story written and directed by Richard Ayoade, primarily known to American audiences from his part in the 2012 film The Watch. The film stars Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine. The story tells a traditional coming-of-age story behind the life of 15 year-old Oliver Tate who is reaching the age where sex has become the most important thing in life. He sets out on a journey to lose his virginity, and along the way finds out that there is more to life. Young Oliver faces challenges throughout the film that make him re-evaluate those around him and even how he views himself, as most coming-of-age films do.
The main difference to this particular film in comparison to other teenage stories stands in that the movie almost seems self-aware. The film starts out with a message to the viewer, greeting American viewers specifically by introducing itself as a biopic film from Wales, and even describing how the audience would know Wales by naming world famous actors from there. He says that the events that happened in the film are important and to watch with care. It is signed by the protagonist, Oliver Tate. The film also shows itself as being self-aware by having moments where the leading actor talks directly to the audience about what is going on or what is about to take place on screen. These moments are usually followed by a quirky montage which gives the movie a certain charm that is usually lacking in most of this genre.
Another difference is that the movie seems to have a very unusual pace. Things that the viewer would typically think would take the entire movie to happen, took mere minutes. The film was broken into 3 parts, as well as an epilogue much like a novel would have. Each of the parts of the film had their own issues, their own main conflicts, as well as their own antagonists. With the different parts each having their own issues that needed to be resolved in equal parts of an hour and a half, the confrontations leading up to the main solution often happened in a shorter time frame than most movies. This both added to the film and took away. Certain things that usually would need more explanation seemed rushed, whereas other bits of plot which seemed unimportant, though entertaining, would have made the movie seem longer than it really was if it were dragged out more. Although the differences in the film did stand out, the similarities of the formulated genre were equally evident. Despite the hard attempt to make the movie have a hipster-esque sort of oddness, there was a lacking in surprise. Everything that usually happens in a story of a teenager finding themselves happened. Happy endings for all!
All in all, Adyoade’s 2010 film was enjoyable. With a cast that was very good at the type of “quirk” I believe Adyoade desired, and a unique take on how the film was introduced without the generic “based on a true story” hand-camera style, he was able to bring to the screen a film with the warm heartedness that viewers were looking for.
Article by Krista Skweres