A Mellow Submarine

Submarine ★★★
(UK, 97 min.)
Written and directed by Richard Ayoade
Starring: Craig Roberts, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Yasmin Page, Paddy Considine.
A fun, quirky coming-of-age story, Submarine is much like (500) Days of Summer crossed with Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows. Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) finds himself at a bit of a romantic crossroads. Pulling him in one direction is his observation of the dwindling romance between his parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor), which takes an odd turn when his mother’s first love moves into the house next door. Pulling him in the other direction is his neurotic crush on classmate Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Page). Oliver mulls the possible outcomes of each romantic folly in a fun and highly irrational voice-over, as well as in some eccentric interludes of indie comedy weirdness.

Submarine is perhaps a bit too self-reflexive for its own good. The kooky visuals and self-conscious art film style often serve a distancing effect, rather than drawing the viewer in to the inanity of Oliver’s youthful obsessions. There is also some unevenness in the tone of the film, as well as a few loose ends in the narrative. Still, Submarine is frequently amusing and it sports a great cast, all of whom are clearly having a lot of fun in their offbeat roles. It’s charming, original, and wonderfully pretentious. It’s also a lot of fun when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Submarine is currently playing at The Bytowne