London Film Festival Blog: day 10

23 October 2009

scouting book for boys

We have two very different kinds of films to report on today – and both get our seal of approval. The first is Tom Harper’s Scouting Book for Boys, a twisted coming of age story penned by Skins and Shameless writer Jack Thorne, starring Brit flick favourite Thomas This is England Turgoose. The film starts off promisingly chirpy, with two teenagers David (Thomas Turgoose) and Emily (Holliday Grainger) jumping from roof to roof of the caravans in the park where they live year round, off the coast of Norfolk.

We continue in this vein, with the two best friends chasing sheep, running through wheat fields and playing at the water slides in their dreary caravan park home. Keeping the trend for incompetent parents that has been apparent in recent Brit films (look no further than Fish Tank), David’s dad sings country and western songs to an unimpressed crowd at the local entertainment centre, while Emily’s mum is an Amy Winehouse-esque beehived drunk. But their happy lives are turned upside down when Emily is told she’s being sent to live with her more capable dad. The kids hatch a plan to ensure they are not separated, and disastrous unexpected consequences follow. In fact it was so shocking that in the end we felt a little like we had been punched in the face. But in a deep, cinematic way.

Our second offering is the documentary film Starsuckers, a look at the cult of celebrity and its affect on future generations. Director Chris Atkins explores the fame obsession and how society exploits and feeds on it, from reality TV training schools to shoddy PR stunts. It may sound dry, but it’s a gripping, difficult watch, focusing on fame hungry parents who push their children into the spotlight from as young as two, dressing them as mini LL Cool Js (complete with bling watch and chain) and saying that a famous young child is ‘every parents’ dream.’ Fascinating.

- Holly Fraser


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