Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


Sundance London 2023 Review: Scrapper – “Remarkable directing and stellar performances”

Does it really take a village to raise a child?

Scrapper begins with that exact age-old proverb, but quickly dismisses it. The initial writing is immediately stroke out and replaced by a new writing underneath that says “I can raise myself, thanks.” This opening sequence, albeit solely focused on intertitles immediately sets the tone of the film and of its main character. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition and the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and compared to the critically acclaimed Aftersun by the British filmmaker Charlotte Wells, Scrapper is a film I inevitably had very high hopes for, after hearing so many positive things about it.

Written and directed by Charlotte Regan, Scrapper follows the story of 12-year-old Georgie (Lola Campbell) as her estranged father Jason (Harris Dickinson) unexpectedly shows up in her life. After the death of her mother, Georgie starts caring for herself, living alone in her London flat and filling it with magic and fantasies that characterise children at that age. She is quite resourceful at it too as she managed to keep the flat exactly like her mother used to, pay the bills by stealing and reselling bikes with her best friend Ali (Alin Uzun), and convincing everyone she lives with her non-existent uncle, Winston Churchill. That is until her absent father comes back into her life, much to Georgie’s dismay and distrust towards the man she does not recognize.

There is a lot to say about Scrapper but what stands out the most is undoubtedly the acting from the two protagonists. This is all the more impressive for the newcomer Lola Campbell who has excellent comedic timings, much like Alin Uzun who never fails in making the audience laugh. Campbell also manages to really hold her own both when alone on screen and sharing the scene with Harris Dickinson. As regards the latter, although he has proven himself as a fantastic comedic actor in Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, with Scrapper he shows his range through comedy and drama as well as his emotional side. The chemistry between father and daughter is really at the heart of the film and Campbell and Dickinson prove to be a fantastic comedic duo on screen together.

What makes Scrapper such a visually striking film is its aesthetics, created by visionary directing that is not afraid to play into children’s imagination, thus creating a vibrant world we want to get lost in. While the story may be predictable and, in the end, fairly simple, the film’s originality is in Regan’s directing style, made up of colours, humour, and hand-held shots that make up Georgie’s world. In fact, the visuals of the films often create an imaginary turn that takes us back to childhood: for example, there is a short and hilarious montage where the spiders that live in Georgie’s house talk to each other with cartoonish thought bubbles, which I thought was one of the funniest moments of the film in its simplicity.

Raegan’s movie is a successful balance of comedy and emotionality as we see the father-daughter bond evolve throughout the film as the two both deal with their grief after having lost Georgie’s mother and eventually get closer despite Georgie’s struggle to trust Jason. Scrapper is a film that puts its audience in the shoes of a child both visually and narratively, thus making us experience once again what it is like to be children with its imagination, hardship, and distrust of adults, all of which seem to be even more heightened in Georgie’s life.

Scrapper is a touching movie with a feel-good and yet still emotional side to it. As such, the film is a refreshing new take on a story that has undoubtedly already been told, thanks to its remarkable directing and stellar performances, both of which make the film the unique product that it is. Regan manages to combine its artistic and auteur-like aesthetic with a father-daughter comedy to create a beautiful comfort film. I will be looking out for what Regan will do next, now that she has significantly established herself as one of the most interesting directors breaking out in the British indie scene.

Previous PostNext Post


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.