[Submarine]

Submarine was a charming coming of age story and a great start to the festival. I’ve only seen Craig Roberts be rather evil before (he was a vampire on “Being Human” & John Reed in the most recent Jane Eyre) but here as unreliable narrator 15 year old Oliver Tate he’s big-eyed and awkward, like Harold in a duffle coat.

The object of his affection is slightly more age-appropriate: his classmate, the far-from-perfect Jordana. She’s played beautifully by Yasmin Paige, who I last saw rocking the Sarah Jane Adventures. As Jordana she’s nearly as uncomfortable as Oliver, hiding inside a coat herself, and never quite sure where to put her arms.

Oliver’s home life is, of course, unsatisfying. His parents’ marriage is on the rocks if only his father (Noah Taylor) could stop watching fish or the television long enough to notice. His mother (Sally Hawkins, who I adore) is testing the waters with an old flame who has moved in next door (Paddy Considine, with truly amazing hair).

Overall Submarine is clever and touching, with clear influence from around the cinematic spectrum (Woody Allen & Wes Anderson being the most obvious, with a dash of Godard (seriously)), but it maintains a strong voice of its own.

Director Richard Ayoade was in attendance for our screening, which was a treat. He’s exactly as fantastic in person as you would imagine, dry and self-deprecating, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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