Watched at the Vevey International Funny Film Festival 2023
It takes a village to raise a child.
I can raise myself thanks”
And she’s absolutely right! Georgie, played by a young and very promising Lola Campbell in her first time on screen, is a 12-year-old girl living on her own. She spends her summer holidays juggling household chores, playing with Ali (her only friend), stealing bikes and above all, struggling to cope with the recent loss of her mother. Despite her feisty temperament, colloquially termed as ‘Scrapper,’ Georgie carries herself, or at least believes she does, like an adult, yearning to be treated as such. Endowed with a high level of intelligence, she copes, at least apparently, with grief in a mature manner, progressing through the various stages of trauma. However, beneath this tough facade, lies a juvenile side, intended as a maximum expression of emotions. Unable to communicate her innermost feelings to the world, she conceals them within her mother bedroom, padlocked in the form of a tower. Tower that is her symbolic pathway to the sky, where the hidden child envisions her departed mother. It takes the unexpected arrival of her never-before-known father Jason, played by Harris Dickinson, to unravel the child within Georgie.
In her first feature film, Charlotte Regan skillfully displays her ability to direct all the essential elements necessary for a successful film. The audience is granted a privileged perspective, witnessing the story through Georgie’s eyes and how she envisions the adult world in which she has yet to participate. Regan creatively employs sound, camera movements and editing to vividly capture how a young girl perceives the world around her—whether it is through a switch that turns day into night, the storm seen in her bedroom, or the imaginative constructs of Jason’s job and youth.
Further enhancing the film’s uniqueness are Regan’s imaginative touches, elevating Scrapper into a truly refreshing cinematic experience. I am talking, for instance, about the inventive fake interviews, which serve as a glimpse into how Georgie envisions the perspectives of those around her: the somber and monochrome portrayal of social services, the vibrant depiction of the teacher, and the mischievous pink assigned to the girls, a color distinctly distant from her.
Scrapper proves to be a captivating and emotionally moving film. Lola Campbell and Harrison Dickinson exhibit perfect synergy, skillfully capturing the essence of the complexities inherent in a father-daughter relationship without succumbing to clichés or already-seen. They both admit their own struggles in navigating this new and unexplored dynamic, making mistakes and solving them in their personal ways. After a mistrustful start on either side, the characters undergo a transformative journey, gradually fostering a deeper sense of trust and connection, finally becoming a family. The use of framing, once again demonstrating masterful directorial work, accentuates this evolution by visually bringing Lola and Harrison closer together as the narrative unfolds.
Scrapper seamlessly weaves together drama and entertainment, inviting laughter and contemplation. What more could one ask from a first feature film? I eagerly await the next creation from this talented young filmmaker, who has managed to portray a harsh story in such a delicate way.
- Mario Di Luca