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Review: Submarine

Posted October 12, 2011 by Max in Festivals/Conventions

Richard Ayoade has created something great with his first feature-length film. Submarine captures the enigmatic Oliver Tate and his adolescent experiences in love. Ayoade knows exactly what he wants to make with Submarine, an art house comedy with French New Wave vibes.

Oliver Tate imagines what the world would be like without him and the mass sympathy that would result. He’s always looking for the easy answer, the things that benefit him before anyone else. There is one girl in his class who he has calculated his odds of succeeding with. Jordana is fairly attractive, but is one step away from pretty. Oliver believes his status would improve if he should start dating her.

Back at home Oliver’s parents haven’t had sex in weeks. He knows this due to the dimmer switch in their room being on full light instead of half-light.  His father suffers from chronic depression and his mother feels unfulfilled until their new neighbor makes her feel young again.

Things start looking bleak for Oliver and his parents’ relationship.  Oliver, apprehensive about commitment to his girlfriend, must decide what to when asked for support. His mother seems infatuated with the neighbor who happens to be her first love from high school and Olivers’ parents are drifting further apart. Oliver must put the balance of his own relationship on the line while trying to keep his parents together.


While Submarine sounds laced with drama, it is rife with comedic relief. Oliver’s views of the world never fail to incite laughter.  Oliver spends his days reading from the dictionary and he believes his next door neighbors are actually ninjas. None of this would work without the casting of Craig Roberts for Oliver. He captures the essence of what being fifteen is all about.

Submarine falters with regards to its plot though. While the Submarine felt tight and focused for a good part of the film, two-thirds into the film things become unhinged. There’s a great segment where Oliver decides to record his experiences with Jordana on Super 8 film.  This sequence has a whimsical feeling that is lost at the finale. Nevertheless, Submarine is a great coming-of-age story and Ayoade has certainly made his mark.



Directed by Richard Ayoade
Starring Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine
Release June 3 2011


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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.