In a working-class suburb of London, 12-year-old Georgie (Lola Campbell) lives alone in the small house she always lived in with her mother, who recently died of illness. Since then, the little girl has been getting by, deceiving social services by pretending that an uncle is at her side and, to meet daily needs, stealing bicycles with the help of her best friend, Ali (Alin Uzun).
However, nothing comes from this kid that could make people cry. On the contrary. A small ageless woman entirely contained in a frail body, Georgie immediately seduces with her chatter, her little pouts and her grandmother’s phrasing, her applied energy, the determination she gives to everything, housekeeping, theft, lie…
It is this young heroine who, in Scrapper , the first feature film by British director Charlotte Regan, leads the way, sets the tone, determines the point of view of the film which thus keeps the drama at bay. And produces, instead, a fantasy mixed with gravity, halfway between comic strip, tale and social comedy. The filmmaker and her cinematographer Molly Manning Walker (director of the recent How to Have Sex , 2023) have, as such, chosen brightly lit, colorful settings, to the point, sometimes, of appearing artificial.
The bias also applies to the narration which regularly involves the characters facing the camera. Everyone, confiding what they think of Georgie, contributes to the development of a more complex portrait than what the person concerned lets on. And what will be disrupted by the arrival of a newcomer.
The latter is called Jason (Harris Dickinson), a friendly guy, a handsome, immature guy with peroxide hair who, one fine day, comes knocking at the door. Father of the little girl, he explains that he fled his responsibilities when she was born, being too young at the time. Today, he is willing to try and feels more capable, perhaps, of fulfilling his role. Georgie, who doesn’t need anyone, takes a dim view of this stranger who abandoned his mother.
However, she cannot bring herself to chase him away and agrees, with a sullen face, to welcome him into her home. We know the rest, which will endeavor to describe the journey strewn with pitfalls, incomprehension, failures and small victories which this late and adolescent father will have to face, to succeed in taming, then conquering his girl, more adult than him.
On this time-tested canvas, Charlotte Regan embroiders her canvas in the manner of a child, in disorderly outbursts, caring little about what is likely, favoring play (narrative and formal), brushing aside sadness in the face. benefit from a slightly acidic malice, a half-hearted humor.
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