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Wasp (2003)

Zoë is a single mother who lives with her four children in Dartford. She is poor and can't afford to buy food. One day her ex-boyfriend drives by and asks her to go on a date with him. ... See full summary »


Andrea Arnold


Andrea Arnold

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Natalie Press ... Zoë
Danny Dyer ... Dave
Jodie Mitchell Jodie Mitchell ... Kelly
Molly Griffiths Molly Griffiths ... Sinead
Kaitlyn Raynor Kaitlyn Raynor ... Leanne
Danny Daley Danny Daley ... Kai
Lizzie Colbert Lizzie Colbert ... Bullet-head
Ashley Routledge Ashley Routledge ... Brown-haired girl
Tabitha Crewe Tabitha Crewe ... Barmaid


Zoë is a single mother who lives with her four children in Dartford. She is poor and can't afford to buy food. One day her ex-boyfriend drives by and asks her to go on a date with him. Scared that he doesn't want to go out with her, she lies and tells him that she is just babysitting the kids. This will be her first date in years. Written by Rhodry

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

April 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wasp See more »

Filming Locations:

Dartford, Kent, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sound recordist Neil Robert Herd plays guitar and sings in alt-bluegrass band The Coal Porters. See more »


Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »


Hey Baby
Written by Bruce Channel and Margaret Cobb
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Performed by DJ Ötzi
Produced by Klaus Biedermann Claus Marcus Christian Seitz
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User Reviews

A Very Nice Bit of Work
2 July 2006 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

The development of lightweight portable 16mm camera equipment about 1960 made possible a new style of documentary film called "Direct Cinema". Instead of the traditional scripted (obviously fictionalized) method, in this new style the filmmakers do not involve themselves in the action. The camera being all seeing and unobtrusive-if the camera is not actually hidden the subjects become so used to it that they ignore its presence.

What makes "Wasp" so unique is its almost seamless fusion of the two documentary styles. Writer/director Andrea Arnold scripts a fictional story intended to look so authentic that it can pass as direct cinema.

This is done so effectively that not only is a casual viewer unable to tell whether it is fact or fact-based fiction, but in most cases actually assumes the story is authentic and the characters real. The acting (particularly by the children) is so well directed and edited that you feel certain that these are real people.

There is a bit of a false note in that the actress (Natahlie Press) who plays the mother is a bit too attractive; although they try to detune her appearance this factor still raises early suspicions . The only other false note is that at no time does anyone look directly into the camera, something inevitable when working with non-actors. But even this is not an infallible indicator because it would have been possible though careful editing to effectively trim out these behaviors.

The appearance of the wasp (a metaphor for the risks of growing up in this type of environment) is surreal enough to tip off the viewer to the true nature of the film, but it occurs so late in the production that it does not spoil much of a viewer's roller-coaster experience.

The 23-minute "Wasp" is a project of The UK Film Council's decision to select and fund the making of new short films by talented, but as yet unknown directors. Apparently the project is very open with few rules and structure, each director is given $50,000 by the project.

"Wasp" was shot on a council estate (a public housing project) and is intended to be a realistic but fictional glimpse into one day in the life of a fairly "typical" unmarried mother (insert British white trash here). In these public high-rises the adult occupants dream about the lives of David and Victoria Beckham and the children aspire to trips to McDonalds (especially attractive when their kitchen only contains moldy bread and white sugar).

Because Zoe (Press) fears her four young children will be taken from her, she drags them along to a pub where she is meeting a potential new boyfriend. They are not permitted in the pub and must stay outside with the baby. While she plays pool and gets romanced the children wait outside, bored and hungry. They manage to invent a few games to amuse themselves. The oldest daughter, who looks to be about eight, is already more mature than the mother and resourcefully scrounges for food.

Although a bit heavy-handed in making its points, the film nicely avoids a preachy tone. I found it absolutely riveting and its Oscar well deserved.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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