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Scrapper – Sundance London 2023 (Film Review)

2 min read

's debut feature opens this year's Film Festival: London with the film's UK premiere. Following Georgie, a 12-year-old girl who's been living on her own since her mum died, Scrapper sees the entrance of her absent father Jason as he turns up out of the blue and the two of them are forced to confront reality.

Right off the bat it can be very easy to compare Scrapper to last year's breakout film Aftersun. Both films are the feature debut of a British female filmmaker named Charlotte and both feature outstanding child performances in a film about a father/daughter relationship. And maybe Scrapper will never be able to escape these Aftersun comparisons, but Scrapper never reaches anywhere close to the heights of 2022's Aftersun.

 Scrapper opens with the statement ‘it takes a village to raise a child' before the text gets crossed out and scribbled over with “I can raise myself thanks', immediately setting up the tone and quirky feel of the film.

And right from this point Scrapper is a film filled with charm. Watching Georgie, played wonderfully by Lola Campbell, live on her own and then watching her connect with her dad () is sweet whilst also cutting deep with emotion, however only at times.

There are moments in Scrapper that really land and prove Charlotte Regan's directorial flair. The film's colour palette pops, the writing leaves you laughing, and you are fully invested in Jason and Georgie's relationship. For instance, the film uses a mockumentary style approach to hear from some of the secondary characters at times but this isn't utilized enough to really feel like it's a big part of the film. It's at these moments that Regan really shows her flair but there just isn't quite enough of this.

At other times, Scrapper does leave you wondering where it's going next and wondering if it's the performances of Dickinson and Campbell that's dragging the film along. Both Dickinson and Campbell, as well as Campbell's co-star Alin Uzun who plays her best friend Ali, give excellent performances and are what drive the film. However, these performances alone, are not enough to make Scrapper an outstanding directorial debut.

There are just too many moments where the humour doesn't quite land, or scenes that aren't quite as accomplished as they should be, for instance a scene involving Georgie and Jason running from the police after attempting to steal a bike but as the two are running, there's just way too much shaky cam and as a result the scene feels a little too hard to follow and it doesn't hit in the same way it's supposed to.

An admirable debut, Scrapper is a sweet and charming watch anchored by two excellent lead performances but it's sadly no gamechanger.

 

Scrapper opens the Sundance Film Festival: London 2023