Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Constantine
Oliver: This is the moment where you leave him and come with me.
Jordana: …is it?
Oliver: Yeah…are you coming?
Fifteen year old Oliver (Roberts) must simultaneously deal with falling in love and watching his parents’ marriage possibly begin to fall apart.
This is an interesting one that’s had me thinking about it for the last couple days since I saw it.
There’s a lot of thought provoking stuff here, but it almost gets buried under a lot of Wes Anderson-y…Amelie-like style. The frequent trips outside of reality are sometimes amusing or helpful to the storytelling, but other times they just serve as distraction.
Still, the story is there. Oliver has built up classmate Jordana (Paige) into the perfect girl. He even makes allowances for obvious character flaws, and even compromises his own moral standards to try to match hers. And despite his incredible awkwardness, she has taken a liking to him. Though, Jordana has no interest in romance or real emotional intimacy. At least, not until a bit later…
The two spend a lot of time together. Director Richard Ayoade does a good job of injecting these scenes with a certain innocent sweetness, energy and fun. It makes you want to jump into the screen and experience times like that on a Groundhog Day type loop. But you can’t…and neither can Oliver and Jordana. Life gets in the way.
In this case, it’s Oliver’s parents’ problems coupled with Jordana’s own family crisis. Oliver feels like he must save his own parents’ marriage, possibly just so he can feel like maybe there’s hope for his own love to last.
Roberts and Paige are both subtly good, capturing the strangeness (and yes, awkwardness) of this odd relationship they’ve got going. It’s the type of movie relationship that could be unbelievable if handled wrong, but I thought they got it just right.
I won’t go further into the other complications that arise, but there are many. Can they be overcome? Who knows, but there’s a terrific final scene that shows that Oliver and Jordana are willing to try.
Dogs shouldn’t play by railroad tracks.
10 – 1.1 for the style sometimes getting in the way – 1.1 because I didn’t think some of the characters motivations were well laid out at times = 7.8