This is a very sweet short film about a young boy, Danny, who is trying to pluck up to courage to ask the girl that he fancies, Pippa, to the school disco. However, due to a partially overheard conversation relayed by someone else, Danny is under the mistaken impression that Pippa fancies his friend Greg when she in fact fancies him. She is having similar difficulty in plucking up the courage to ask him. Written and directed by Luke Snellin, this is a wonderfully made exploration of the trials and tribulations of young adolescent life told from both the male and female perspectives, though the former receives the most attention.
The film takes place in July 1997 at the height of the Cool Britannia era, allowing the soundtrack to utilise some excellent Britpop songs including Suede's "Beautiful Ones" and three songs from Cast. The only non-British song featured in the film is Whigfield's "Saturday Night". 1997 may be a bit too recent for this to be considered a period film but the attention to detail is excellent. The soundtrack and other minor references - "Mortal Kombat", playing Tetris on a Game Boy, a boy doing the (not quite) Full Monty at the disco, the Macarena, Dominic's hairstyle, etc. - scream the 1990s.
Given that Luke Snellin was born in 1986, he was three to four years younger than the characters in the film at the time but I'm guessing that the storyline is, to some extent, semi-autobiographical and the late 1990s setting helped to bring that home for him. However, the themes that the film addresses are universal and I think that anyone who has either reached the characters' age (14 to 15) or has surpassed it can relate to one or more of the characters. I identified most strongly with Danny as, like him, I was a shy, sensitive boy at that age who wasn't as confident with girls or in general as I would have liked.
The film unsurprisingly has a very young cast and they all perform wonderfully. At 15, I think that Bill Milner was one of the oldest cast members. He was already reasonably well established from his appearances in films such as "Son of Rambow" and "Is Anybody There?" and plays the role of Danny brilliantly, perfectly capturing what it's like to be a teenage boy in his situation through not just the delivery of his dialogue but his facial expressions and general demeanour. Izzy Meikle-Small, who plays the object of his affection Pippa, is also excellent, nicely mirroring Danny's situation from the female perspective. Charlie Rowe is suitably obnoxious as Danny's friend Greg, who seems to have rather inflated sense of his attractiveness to the opposite sex and himself in general. However, towards the end of the film, there is a suggestion that this is merely a front that he hides behind and he becomes a much more likable and rounded character as a result.
The other two main roles are Pippa's best friend Rachel and Danny's other, nice friend Dominic, who are played (again, very well) by Lil Woods and Louie Byford respectively. While they have less screen time, I got the impression that Rachel was a more confident girl than Pippa and rather quirky while Dominic was sort of person who only spoke when he felt that he had something to say. This is reflected by the fact that he probably talks the most common sense of any of the characters in the film! As with Danny and Pippa, Dominic and Rachel get together at the disco and it's extremely sweet. Bradley Ford was also very impressive in his small role as 12-year-old hard man Dean. I don't think that I've even seen such a perfectly cast group of child actors.
Overall, this is an excellent, heartfelt depiction of young love and the teenage experience. It's a wonderful use of the short film format as we are given a brief snapshot of the characters' lives - the film lasts 15 minutes and takes place over the course of less than a day - but we can extrapolate quite a bit about them from it.
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