Just another Kidulthood? Not so fast. Where Noel Clarke’s debut was all teen speak, yoof culture and multi-stranded east London ghetto-cool, Andrea Arnold’s second film, after her Oscar winning 2003 short Wasp and Cannes’ Grand Prize of the Jury awarded debut Red Road tells of a 15 year old girls attempt to make something of herself, with people coming at her from all sides.
Katie Jarvis plays Mia, picking fights and sneaking away from her neglectful mother and foul mouthed little sister (“cuntface”) to score cider and practice dancing in an abandoned flat in her tower block home. Her life is nothing but insults, confrontations and disencouragement from her family and her peers, until her mother starts dating Michael Fassbender’s Connor, a positive influence with a steady job and encouraging guidance, helping Mia to take her dancing onto the next step (pun intended). With some very strong language, unexpected dark turns and a scene where we watch a girl squat and pee on the floor this is at times a difficult watch, and its overall message, that role models are not what they seem and all dreams will be crushed in obvious ways, is a little hard to take. Best watched as a double feature with Little Miss Sunshine for their exactly polar opposite climactic scenes.
Choose film 6/10