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MOVIES: Scrapper - Review

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Scrapper is the type of film that you take one look at and you automatically put in the box of Ken Loach, social-realist, kitchen sink drama. Peel back the layers behind Scrapper and you’ll realise it’s so much more than that – a welcome change from the dour; grey British dramas that neglect how colourful the country can be at times. Scrapper is one of those films – I’d say it has more in common with Wes Anderson than Ken Loach, the cutaways to the fourth-wall breaks and the commentary of others being video-interviewed to tell the audience of what they think of the main protagonist, Lola Campbell’s tough, innovative Georgie. We get a variety of reactions: a 20-something stolen bike dealer denies she’s her friend (she’s just a kid), and a teacher is happy that she just turns up at school – all these images paint a picture of one of the best characters of the year; brought to life by the stellar Lola Campbell.

Georgie has been living on her own since her mother died; and believes she’s coping but can’t get through the stages of grief on her own and can’t last her life being only 12. That’s about to shake up when young dad, Jason – jumps over her fence one afternoon and changes everything – the absent father coming home to roost after years spent partying in Spain. Alin Uzun’s Ali, Georgie’s best friend, is instantly taken under his wing – but Georgie is not so sure, and won’t trust easily. She knows she can’t keep up the ruse forever: it’s only a matter of time before someone calls the socials; and Jason might be the perfect foil.

The dynamic between Lola Campbell and Harris Dickinson is key to making this film work and it achieves two things: it makes you realise just how good Campbell and Dickinson are as actors. Campbell’s breakthrough performance as Georgie is phenomenal, and Dickinson shows the range he has as an actor: look at his performance in movies like Triangle of Sadness for comparisons’ sake. There’s a real actor here, one of the best – leaning into the role of the absent dad, you can see as much of Charlie in him as you can her mother. It’s a fascinating performance – and watching the two exchange make-up stories about what people waiting for the train on the opposite platform are really talking about without being able to hear them is perfectly told; followed by a great sequence that just really shines.

There’s a lot of vulnerability in Jason: he doesn’t know that Georgie is tougher than he lets on. There’s an awkward discussion early on when he tries to look for the tooth under her pillow, Georgie accuses him of being weird and when Jason tells her about the tooth fairy, Georgie argues that she owes him 20 quid. Jason apologies awkwardly and tries to throw money at the problem – and it’s the characters that show that.

The bright colours of the backdrop make this so unique and bright; whilst warm and masterful. It’s easy to see the comparisons to Aftersun but this is more optimistic than that: kind of like a fairy tale, tapping into the mythology of the absent father returning home and fixing his ways. It’s optimistic: exciting, and hysterical – the charm of Campbell playing an elderly woman in a 12-year-old body really works and gives the film a much needed edge. The actor combo; the style – it’s just a fantastic vision from talented director Charlotte Regan – who makes her a must-watch filmmaker.

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