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  • Colin Fraser

SCRAPPER






THREE AND A HALF STARS Young Georgie is quite happily taking care of herself thank you very much. Then her father turns up.

COMEDY-DRAMA UK English #SCRAPPER

Starring Lola Campbell, Harris Dickinson

A somewhat incredible premise (pre-teen Angie has hoodwinked social services and is living alone following the death of her mother), is quickly embraced by the tongue-in-cheek charm of this immensely likeable comedy-drama from first-time director Charlotte Regan.


Twelve year old Georgie (another newcomer, the remarkable Lola Campbell) lives in a council estate and seldom goes to school now that she’s started her own company. That’s if nicking bikes and selling them to the local fence makes her a business woman. If nothing else, it does keep her and best mate Ali in lemonade and crisps. It’s a good life, held together with magic and memories of her late Mum, all of which coming crashing down when her likeable, estranged father Jason (Harris Dickinson) turns up. He’s feeling the need to prove and protect, and being little more than a boy himself, is the near-perfect fit to inject some reality in Georgie’s life. Or he will be once he wins her trust, and so he joins her company.


Amid the shenanigans, Regan’s film is a thoughtfully realised account of abbreviated childhood and early parenthood. There’s a sense she has very personal insight and while there is an alignment with Paul Mescal’s AFTERSUN, SCRAPPER chooses the lighthearted and irreverent rather than a more familiar course of socio-realism. Which is not to say the council house milieu is in anyway unfamiliar, just that Regan has chosen not to go full Ken Loach and keeps it a largely happy place. The film is better for it.


In her first feature, Campbell is simply terrific as Georgie, infusing the character with joy, wit and confidence seldom seen in a first timer. Regan struck gold and has crafted a wonderfully compelling film around her central performance. Harrison - so good in TRIANGLE OF SADNESS - is the perfect counterweight: playful, funny and marginally irresponsible. He’s more big brother than father with boy-band good looks that makes him appealing and unthreatening. His parental inexperience plays in to Georgie’s hand of course, enabling her to keep taking back the role of top-dog. She may be 12 and Jason may be her Dad, but he's not too bright and she’s in control.

SCRAPPER does has some rough edges and while the bigger emotional moments don’t always land well, smaller, observations are where the film truly shines. There are many and they quickly build into something thoroughly endearing - emotional without being schmaltzy - as the story fizzes and pops with youthful energy. It lets Regan score a few points about council-class lives without walking a trail of misery. Although it’s not an unfamiliar narrative by any means, it manages to stand out from the pack in part because of its cheeky tone and its very cheeky lead.


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