Submarine: A Great Little Film on Netflix Streaming

I recently discovered some great little films on Netflix streaming, and I'd like to introduce you to one of those today. Submarine (2010) was written and directed by Richard Ayoade and is adapted from the novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. It is a coming-of-age tale about Oliver Tate (played by Craig Roberts), a 15 year old boy in a small Welsh town in the mid-80's. The film is narrated by the main character as he discusses his preoccupation with his parent's marriage (Sally Hawkins and Noah  Taylor) and a girl in his class, Jordana (Yasmin Paige).

His observations of his life and those around him are made as if he is looking in from the outside. He fantasizes about his untimely death and the reaction of his classmates and the community as they extoll his virtues and mourn his loss. In reality, he is all but invisible to the other kids in the class. After fixating on another loner, Jordana, he does anything  he can to get her attention. He bullies another girl because he thinks Jordana will enjoy it, even though he feels remorseful about it. His plan works and he begins a relationship with Jordana, a chubby girl with a severe pageboy haircut and eczema and tastes of milk and Dunhill cigarettes.

At the same time that Oliver is experiencing first love, his parent's relationship appears to be unraveling. He knows that they haven't had sex in over 7 months as evidenced by the lack of movement on the dimmer switch in their bedroom. His father is a depressive with career woes and his mother is so repressed that even her shirts are buttoned all the way up to her chin. When her first love moves in across the street, she begins to remember the young girl she used to be, with long hair and a free spirit.

All of their lives collide when Jordana's terminally ill mother goes to the hospital at the same time that Oliver discovers his mother at the beach with her old boyfriend. He can't bring himself to check on Jordana and her mother, so he and his father sink into paralyzing despair. He watches as Jordana finds a new boyfriend and his attempt to get her back ends with him asking, "Isn't this the part where you leave him and come with me?" Unlike most movies about young love, she just looks at him and says, "No." 

All of the performances in this film are restrained, stoic, and understated. Ayoade uses drab colors for the background and all of their clothes except for the bright red coat that Jordana wears, demonstrating that she is different than the others and more full of life and color.

If you like Wes Anderson films, then you will like Submarine. It reminded me a lot of Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums. I watched it on Netflix Streaming, but you can also find it on Amazon and iTunes. 
Submarine


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