LONDON – Scrapper – the feature film debut of writer and director Charlotte Regan, masterfully strikes a balance between comedy and drama, creating a heartfelt and memorable cinematic experience.
Released in August, Scrapper centers around a 12-year-old girl called Georgie [Lola Campbell] who grapples with handling adult responsibilities in the wake of her mother’s death – until her irreverent father returns.
Harris Dickinson delivers a charismatic performance as Georgie’s cocky, deadbeat dad Jason, allowing the audience to connect with the characters as they attempt to mend their relationship.
But the desire to ‘fix’ this bond tends to brush over the severity of Georgie’s dad initially abandoning her.
Despite this, the chemistry between the cast seems genuine. The film stands out for its improvisational aspects such as the dialogue between Dickinson and Campbell, enhancing its natural and relatable storytelling.
The comedic delivery is brilliant. Alin Uzun, who plays Georgie’s best friend Ali, specifically provides a humorous element throughout.
The power of Regan’s writing is evident in the audience’s reaction. I could feel the seats vibrate as everyone laughed together in the cinema.
The narrative seamlessly weaves the lives of characters while playing on film tropes through cameos of Nigerian triplets and a ‘mean girls’-type group.
Producer Theo Barrowclough called Scrapper a film on ‘”grief in childhood.” during a Q&A after a London screening.
Campbell perfectly executes this in her acting, bringing depth to her character’s storyline.
The reality of Georgie’s situation is shown through her desire to protect her home by “working” and selling scraps to pay rent, despite being a child.
Some scenes hit deep, enhanced by montage sequences and great song choices.
The visuals are appealing, reminiscent of the TV show “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and the interview-style scenes provide a breaking-the-fourth-wall element that aids the film.
The film’s aesthetics mirror the vibrant hues of its surroundings, paying homage to the lively area of East London.
Regan emphasized the importance of showcasing the working-class side of London and does this authentically.
A magical realist aspect is created through the colorful block of houses and the seemingly-animated tower scene.
The satirical depiction of teachers and social services highlights the importance of adults playing an active role in young people’s lives.
Overall, Regan stuns in her feature film debut and proves her talent as both writer and director.
Regan transforms the word “scrapper” from a metaphor into a triumphant exploration of love, loss, and perseverance.
Anjola Fashawe is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.