The online clues for this week’s Odeon Screen Unseen had many believing that they were going to be treated to an early showing of Blue Beetle. But it turns out that the clues were a little more cryptic than that, and what we got instead was a British dramedy that probably didn’t feature very highly on many people’s radar, mine included. But then I guess that’s the whole point of these mystery screenings – getting people in seats to watch something that will most likely struggle when released against the bigger crowd-pleasing titles like Blue Beetle. And I’m so glad they did that and I got the chance to see it.
The main focus of Scrapper is 12-year-old Georgie (Lola Campbell) and we first see her busily cleaning the London council house that she lives in. A chart on the wall lists out the stages of grief, with Georgie crossing off the stages she believes she’s moved on from, and it soon becomes apparent that she’s living alone. She has been on her own since her mum died of cancer and has been lying to teachers and social workers regarding her living arrangements ever since, with everyone believing she’s being cared for by her uncle, Winston Churchill!
Georgie’s best friend is Ali (Alin Uzun) and the pair spend their days stealing bicycles and taking them to a lockup garage where they sell them to Zeph (Ambreen Razia). Although clearly very streetsmart and full of cheeky dialogue, it’s obvious that there’s only so long Georgie can continue fending for herself like this.
And then one day a man jumps over the back fence into Georgie’s garden and announces that he’s Georgie’s father, Jason (Harris Dickinson). Georgie doesn’t recognise him at all, as he bailed on her and her mum many years ago to go work abroad, but he moves into the house all the same, despite attempts by Georgie to try and evict him. To begin with, he’s helpful to have around if only to fend off calls from social services, but the pair slowly begin to connect and begin forging a new life together.
For a while, I wasn’t sure this movie would be for me, seeming similar to last year’s Aftersun, which bored me to tears. But thankfully I ended up finding this quite enjoyable despite getting off to a slow and patchy start. It’s peppered with documentary-style interviews with teachers and classmates of Georgie, along with social services staff who are hilariously portrayed as being completely clueless, all of which are fun. But then there are some slightly weirder moments involving house spiders who voice their thoughts via comic-style speech bubbles and it was around this time that there was an increase in the number of people walking out of the cinema.
I guess I could understand the thinking behind those that bailed, but I would definitely recommend sticking with it. There’s certainly nothing particularly unexpected or dramatic here, but there are some genuinely funny and touching moments between father and daughter and their bickering and conversation are a joy to watch. Lola Campbell is a truly natural performer too, and definitely one to watch.
Scrapper will be released in UK cinemas on 25th August
Where to Watch
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.