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Sundance 2023 Review: Scrapper – “The dialogue is sharp”

Still grieving from the death of her mother, 12-year-old Georgie is quite resourceful in preventing her school and social services from discovering that she is living on her own until her absentee father makes an appearance.

When the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child” gets crossed out and written underneath in childish printing is the remark, “I can raise myself thanks,”  the tone of the film is established from the beginning.   Adolescent Georgie is grieving the death of her mother, living on her own, and paying the rent by stealing bikes.  She has created a fake uncle named Winston Churchill to keep her school and social services at bay.  Things get upended when a young man climbs over the fence and claims to be Georgie’s absentee father.

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The opening quote sequence is a smart introduction for what follows.  The story is told from the perspective of Georgie with her imagination on display via film projector screen presentation of residents at the community housing project, school officials, and business associates commenting on the proceedings.  The dialogue is sharp and though not quite sure if these are the words of a 12-year-old girl but then again growing up in that poor working-class environment perhaps not so far off the mark.

Everything rides on the shoulders of Lola Campbell and she does give a rather scrappy performance. Ali played by Alin Uzun does an amiable job of playing the brotherly partner in crime.  As for Harris Dickinson as Jason, he convincingly conveys someone who is on the verge of breaking through his juvenile tendencies to become a somewhat adequate parent.  There are elements of fantasy and the pastel colour palette gives the housing project a rather quirky aesthetic that borders on being something Wes Anderson would have done. Still not sure how an uncle named Winston Churchill would not have drawn suspicion, especially in the UK, but that is a narrative conceit one just has to roll with.

The 2023 Sundance Film Festival takes place January 19–29, 2023, in person and online, and for more information visit

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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