'My name is Oliver Tate..'
Like a snail cuddled into it's shell, 15 year old introvert Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) feels at home snuggled into his beloved navy duffle coat - an object of comfort and protection from a world he feels so disillusioned and lost in. Believing himself to be widely adored and a undiscovered genius Oliver is blindly unaware that he is actually just a pretentious pariah. Like many British youths (yes, we aren't all gangsters living it rough on the streets of Camden) Oliver still longs to find something....anything to make him feel alive.
It is this whimsical little oddball who serves as both our unlikely hero and narrator...we follow his quest to find purpose and fulfillment within the vast blustery realms of a sleepy seaside town. His mother and father (brilliantly acted by Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) are also stuck in a passionless marital rut and the arrival of his mother's eccentric ex flame (Paddy Considine), who moves in next door, does much to rouse Oliver's suspicions. With his parent's marriage at stake and his non-existent social life tipping off the edge Oliver feels perpetually trapped.
Life, however, starts to look up for our awkward hero when he exchanges glances with fellow outcast Jordanna Bevan- a pyromaniac with a dry sense of humour and a taste for polaroid pictures. Together they embark on a tentative romance, with Oliver vowing to be the perfect boyfriend. As they chase each other round a deserted fairground, setting off fireworks, the audience gets the sense that this quirky couple has a bright future...just waiting to explode.
The gloriously subdued soundtrack composed and sung by Arctic Monkeys heartthrob Alex Turner adds to the warm atmospheric tone and provides the perfect backdrop for sweet drama that ensues. As Turner croons his trademark nonsesual lyrics: 'i etched the face of a stopwatch on the back of a raindrop...' Oliver's life begins to unfold. He has the girl... but now he has to try and keep her. After adopting some seriously unorthodox methods to ensure his parents stay together and that Jordanna will still like him, Oliver is set to learn some tough lessons in life and love..
Littered with unexpected pleasures, this quirky venture by Ayoade breathes fresh air into a stagnant genre, proving coming-of-age flicks need not be riddled with cliches. Originality certainly triumphs. The comedy is silky smooth, while the fresh acting talents of the young leads (Roberts and Paige) guides the narrative steadily to its brilliant conclusion. Another must for any indie cinema fans!