Submarine: It’s Only Teenage Wasteland


Set in the seaside industrial landscape of Wales, Richard Ayoade‘s debut film Submarine explores the complicated emotions and relationships of Oliver Tate, an articulate, imaginative teenager with a penchant for briefcases and pyromania. By day, he yearns for Jordana Bevans (Yasmin Page), a rebellious classmate who chafes at the thought of romance. By night, he spies on his parents (Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins) and schemes to keep their lukewarm love alive. Craig Roberts, who is the actor Michael Cera wishes he could be, embodies Oliver with a deadpan humanity that makes his social awkwardness and forced eccentricities relatable to anyone who didn’t know quite who they were at 15, either. As he and Jordana begin a tumultuous relationship, their dusky adventures captured in the grainy Super-8 video of Oliver’s memory, he realizes his parents are growing apart, thanks to the arrival of his mother’s mulleted ex-boyfriend (Paddy Considine). Oliver is repeatedly told that all the sadness and heartbreak he’s going through won’t mean anything when he’s 38, but Oliver–and the audience–know that it’s precisely these painful moments which linger the longest. Filled with fantasy sequences that capture the spirit of teenage grandiosity, Submarine is a dreamy and melancholy snapshot of Oliver’s unsteady transition from misguided youth to self-aware adult.



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