Fellow Movie Lovers
Soon to be released:
Andrea Arnold (Oscar winning creator of Wasp, 2004) delivers a knock out punch with this rough, raw and brutally honest film, attracting and repulsing, simultaneously.
Mia (freshly discovered, Katie Jarvis) is fifteen, no longer in school, disenfranchised from, and hater of society; a pure misanthrope. Her only escape a pathetic imitation of break-dancing (one could not help but recall Jennifer Beals in Flashdance). We do not like her and she does not want us to. Living in the housing projects in Essex, England where privacy is anathema and one’s vulnerabilities showcased for all to witness, replicating a fish tank; with her alcoholic and abusive mother and her younger foul-mouthed sister; dysfunctional climbs to the nose bleed level.
Added to this menacing mix is the ragingly sensual Connor (adroitly played by Michael Fassbender, Inglorious Basterds) lover of Mia’s mother; but from the initial meeting the chemistry between Mia and Connor is palpable and if exploited, could result in explosive consequences. The success of the film rests in the gradual culmination of this relationship.
“Coming of age” films are a truism that has become trivialized, almost a cliché; usually referring to a teen’s sexual awakening or enlightenment. Someone comes of age in all films, regardless of the date on their birth certificate. From The Lost Weekend to An Education, bookends for Old Yeller, Biker Boyz, Lords of Flatbush, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Scent of a Woman, Midnight Cowboy, Cocoon; there are no time restrictions or boundaries as to the age you “come of age”, if ever.
Arnold softens this excruciating painful film with luscious views of the sky and the perfect formation of birds in flight, a metaphor for Mia’s entrapment and struggle for a space of her own.
Can Mia rise above her hubris, her histrionics? Only if you believe in Divine intervention!