Grae Drake
Submarine Review

Grae's Rating:


Dives deep.

Who's In It: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Sally Hawkins

The Basics: Oliver Tate (Roberts) faces the universal hardships of growing up--only he is doing it paler, weirder, and probably more British than you did. He has to suffer through school, getting teased, liking girls, and seeing his parents go through marital troubles. It's like The Wonder Years if Winnie liked to set fires and Kevin wore more pea coats. In other words, awesome.

What's The Deal: Movies about kids in high school usually seesaw between nostalgic drivel (17 Again) or terrifyingly raw (Kids), but this movie finds a nice balance straightaway. This is an adaptation of the novel by Joe Dunthorne, and is in the hands of professional (Limey) yukster Richard Ayoade, who made The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marengi's Darkplace both some of the most memorable comedy in recent years. This film absolutely reflects those same sensibilities: it rewards the highly-focused viewer with subtle jokes and details that only get better with age. My only gripe was that towards the end, it got a little bogged down in Reality. I was enchanted by Oliver's version of his world and wanted to stay there longer--but then again, so did he.

Did You Like Rushmore? If so, you'll probably dig this movie. The parallels between Max Fischer (played by Jason Schwartzman) and Oliver are numerous. They are both obsessed with a girl who they find hauntingly beautiful and represents a "normal" life they want but have little hope of gaining access to (namely, the world of hanging out with Hot Chicks and Getting Lucky). They are brutally honest, and embrace their penchant for being peculiar. Kids may mess with them, but know deep in their hearts that they cannot, nor will they ever, keep up with them in the long run. The good news is, Oliver is less cruel than Max, and his struggle with growing up and doing The Right Thing is painfully visible on his face. It makes him sweet, and reminded me that even though high schoolers can drive cars and babysit, they're still kids.

Grown-Ups Are Dopes: Adults are easy targets in comedies because we're all so lame (it's ok to admit it, you're in a safe place). This movie manages to give us all a good-natured ribbing that walks the line between sophisticated and funny. Paddy Considine, playing new age huckster Graham Purvis, bears the brunt of Oliver's wrath. He is the ex-flame that pops up in their lives and serves as an irritant to an already touchy marriage (we know that it's touchy because Oliver reveals that his parents' overhead light hasn't been dimmed to 50% in 7 months, which means they haven't had sex for that long). Even when the movie takes a turn for the serious, it still has an air of magic and lightness, just like the sparkles tied to the handlebars of their bikes.


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