I revisited this one recently. I still remember seeing it two years ago when my girlfriend at the time recommended it to me. At the time, I was expecting something quirky and funny, but I wasn't entirely sure what would be in store.
Directed by Richard Ayoade
Written by Richard Ayoade
Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, this 2010 coming-of-age movie serves as Richard Ayoade's directorial debut. Those who're into indie movies have probably seen or at least heard of this one, as it received near-unanimous praise upon release.
Oliver Tate has reached that point in his teenage-life where he yearns for the perfect romance, which he projects onto Jordana, who has ideas of her own. As their romance blossoms, Oliver fears for the marriage of his parents and how the possibility of their divorce reflects on his own relationship.
Why is it underrated?
If you're looking for a movie that perfectly captures the mentality of an awkward teenager, this is one that I would definitely advocate. The script, coupled with Craig Roberts' performance as Oliver, manages to perfectly capture the neurotic tics of an anxious vulnerable pubescent as his mind races while trying to comprehend complicated hypothetical constructs such as love.
Roberts shares great chemistry with Yasmin Paige and they're helped largely by Ayoade's confident direction, which manages to capture the sheer tenderness of the story and ensure that, no matter how self-centered our characters feel, they never come off as mean-spirited, despite how manipulative they can be towards each other.
The movie as a whole is very low-key, relying more on subtle humour than over-the-top gags like most other teen films. It's well paced; finding the perfect balance between compelling character-driven drama and memorable wit. Exploring the characters and the complexities of their daunting situation but not forgetting that, at the end of the day, they're just kids. These moments define these characters, but the movie is not going to wallow in them until the audience suffocates (a pitfall quite a lot of teen drama in general falls into).
Plus, it certainly helps that Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys did some work on the soundtrack. There are some really good songs here that fit the movie seamlessly.
After we left the John Hughes era of the coming-of-age film, those types of movies became a lot more loud, obnoxious and cynical. They claimed to represent their target demographic but they were more of a mean-spirited exaggeration of stereotypes related to said demographic. When a movie comes along like Submarine that actually tries to delve into the mindset of these teens and make them empathetic and likable, the end result is a movie that has a lot of heart and the technical prowess to back it all up. Overall, it's a very solid movie due to its emotional sincerity and earnestness above all else.
Thanks for reading.