Submarine 2011 ***

British cinema churns out teenager-coming-of age flicks like there’s no tomorrow, but writer/director Richard Ayoade pulled off something striking and original in his 2011 adaptation of Joe Dunthorne’s novel. Craig Roberts is Oliver, an anxious but imaginative 15 year old who longs for romance and sex in equal measure, and who develops a tentative relationship with Jordana (Yasmin Paige). He’[s distracted by the troubled relationship between his parents, with his mother (Sally Hawkins) seemingly under the spell of an old boyfriend (Paddy Considine). Considine’s Graham Purvis, a faith-healer and mystic whose motives appear suspect, has moved in next door, and Ayoade manages to convincingly portray the static agony of growing up in a way that’s far less sweet than a conventional teen movie, right down to a stunning final shot that nails’ Oliver’s development in one starling, moving image. Cleverly deflating its own pretentions, Submarine is a minor Welsh drama that’s suffused with the pleasures and pains of real teenage life.


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