Quirky father-daughter comedy-drama
- Scrapper review by PD
Charlotte Regan’s film inevitably invites comparison with fellow Briton Charlotte Wells’ 'Aftersun', since both revolve around the relationship between a working-class adolescent girl and her single-parent father during the summer holidays. But whilst 'Aftersun' is a seriously moving work of some depth and beauty, 'Scrapper' is ultimately a sweet bit of fluff that’s trying too hard to be funny and offbeat and ends up being too often simply annoying. But that's not so say that there isn't much to enjoy here. At the heart there’s a brace of superb performances from Harris Dickinson, who brings a certain soulfulness to the hitherto-absentee dad Jason, and newcomer Lola Campbell, who brings a truly remarkable natural comic timing to her turn as 12-year-old protagonist Georgie. Regan clearly has a knack with younger performers and elicits a relaxed, laconic air of confidence from Campbell (although sadly the supporting ensemble, which includes Alin Uzun as Georgie’s best friend Ali, Freya Bell as her nemesis Layla, and a chorus of bit players are much weaker). Meanwhile, the highly saturated colours of Elena Muntoni’s production design, Oliver Cronk’s costumes and Molly Manning Walker’s cinematography create a stylised, semi-magical world out of a shabby housing estate on the outskirts of East London. That quirky quality, much loved by British filmmakers these days, is undoubtedly fun, but only gets you so far. For what lets the film down is Regan’s underdeveloped script, which can’t manage the tonal shifts between grief, the various ethical conundrums, and comedy hijinks. And it takes a huge suspension of disbelief to accept the basic conceit that, after the sudden death of Georgie's mother, somehow no one from the adult world has worked out that this means Georgie is living entirely on her own, especially since she has somehow managed to bamboozle inquisitive social workers into thinking that she’s being minded by a fictitious uncle (the brief scenes involving the social workers are terribly mean). To survive, she's taken to stealing bicycles and selling them for cash, and we are invited to view this is charming and endearing, which would be very awkward were it not for the fact that Dickinson and Campbell make such a great double act. But what’s harder to swallow is that Georgie, Ali and, by extension, we the viewers should just shrug off the fact that her father has been an inarguably rotten, and utterly absent father up until now (and if you think about it, Georgie’s mother is more than a little culpable too given she made no arrangements to secure support for her child even though she knew she was going to die very soon). But emotional logic is clearly not being prioritised here in a film that’s more invested in visually interesting and touching moments where, for instance, father and daughter dance together in an abandoned building while backlighting pours through the empty windows. All in all, a film with many weaknesses but whose quirky quality and central performances carry us through.
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Entertaining and good fun
- Scrapper review by SB
I enjoyed this more than I expected, considering it was a BBC production. Clever vignettes which cross the boundary between the little girl's imagination and the real world lending it a magical quality. OK you have to suspend belief that she could have got away with living on her own till her dad turns up but it was a pleasure to watch their relationship develop and a satisfactory ending.
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