When David discovers that his best friend Emily is being forced to leave their caravan park home, he agrees to help her to run away. But after their plan starts to unravel, secrets come to light that transform his life in ways he never imagined.
Best friends David and Emily enjoy their carefree life in a coastal caravan park. When they learn that Emily is being forced to move away, David he agrees to help her hide out in a remote cave on the beach. Emily's absence soon becomes complicated, as David watches the effect on her family and police suspect one of their neighbors of involvement. When Emily tells David the real reason she wants to hide, his world is shattered. With his complex feelings for Emily growing stronger due to their shared hidden existence, David takes action. Written by
So who was she, the girl you desperately tried to convince yourself was more like the sister you never had? The one who locked you in the toy box of her heart like some dependable old teddy with a glassy stare and a permanently knitted frown, as she parcelled out her favours in front of you? For David (Thomas Turgoose), being that "brotherly" best friend to Emily (Holly Grainger), a girl he's known all his life, just won't cut it anymore. Focusing on adolescent urges turned jealous, possessive and cancerous, The Scouting Book For Boys describes a day-glo dream plummeting into nightmare.
As it opens, the teenage pals are depicted at their Norfolk coastal resort leaping between rows of caravan roofs at sunset: a gorgeously photographed shot perfectly encapsulating the giddy rush and risks of youth. For now, everything is ice creams and waterslides, sunshine and sherbet. There's even that Noah and the frickin' Whale hit on the soundtrack, and you can't get sunnier than that. Then things start turning crap: when an unwilling Emily is packed off to live with her divorcée dad, David helps her hide out in a cave on the beach. ('How to hide yourself' being a section in Baden-Powell's near-eponymous handbook.) But Emily's motives for lying low are more complicated than David imagines. And when the truth is uncovered, the film takes a lurching left turn into Hell-by-the-Sea.
Director Tom Harper and writer Jack Thorne (Skins) have both dealt with wayward adolescence before, and have proved extremely skilled at getting inside those scheming little brains. If the film's adult characters behave like dangerously overgrown children, the kids think they're grown-ups way before their time. Wearing an expression like a bruised knee, Turgoose continues to build on a diminutive but hugely impressive CV; while Grainger, playing slightly younger than her actual age, and sharing superb chemistry with her co-star, is just brilliant: equal parts girlish, manipulative and naïve. Like its protagonists, this is capricious, nuanced drama; just when you think you've a handle on it, it twists out of reach like a flipping fish. Catch it.
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