Another coming-of-ager from across the Atlantic that works appealingly around genre convention is the consistently bright and unsentimental Submarine.
Under Richard Ayoade's enthusiastic direction, abetted by tunes from Alex Turner, from Joe Dunthorne's novel, Craig Roberts impresses as 15-year-old Oliver Tate.
Oliver, of course, is still trying to figure out his place in the world (on track to cross the nerdy boundaries), at least set a generation or so ago. He begins to fall for the chic Jordana (Yasmin Paige) as one of his goals is to lose his virginity before his next birthday. He also doesn't like the fact that his parents, Jill (Sally Hawkins) and pop (Noah Taylor) are drifting apart. It's seems that Jill has been rekindling an old relationship with her ex, a New Age weirdo Graham (Paddy Considine).
There's a fine fly on-the-wall approach to allowing one into Oliver's orbit, including some stream-of-consciousness which help to creatively internalize a typical, nuanced, very sympathetic character. Clearly Roberts (filling out a younger version of a role of the recent effective rendition of Jane Eyre) evinces a natural affection for someone mistaken-prone, keeping a journal and writes suggestive "love letters."
The interplay between Roberts and Paige is often spry and droll, as is much of the thoughtfully acerbic line readings. Taylor and Considine etch out convincing divergent figures as the men in his life while Hawkins (also in the aforementioned Jane Eyre) has an unsettling brusque candor that resonates within the context of love and family.
"Submarine" isn't trying to reinvent the wheel as the production is perceptive and honest through a little CGI and pretentiousness that give it the necessary wit and surprisingly genuine soulfulness in the process.