Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings

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  • Summary: Meet Oliver Tate, a precocious 15-year-old whose worldview is exceedingly clever but largely delusion. He has two big ambitions: to save his parents' marriage and to lose his virginity before his next birthday. (The Weinstein Company)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. 100
    One of the most irresistible films of the year so far.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jun 5, 2011
    Writer-director Richard Ayoade has the knack. A fresh and inventive cinematic voice, he's taken a subject that's been beaten half to death and brought it miraculously to life in his smart and funny debut feature, Submarine.
  3. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 3, 2011
    The excruciating and the hilarious mingle nearly to perfection in this marvelously visualized and deeply felt British film.
  4. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    May 31, 2011
    It cheats a little, using a mix of amateurish extreme close-ups and striking Welsh industrial vistas to substitute for real technical proficiency, but also applies more formal consideration than most films, namely teen-centered comedies, ever do.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 16, 2011
    Submarine has its own specific miseries and darkly funny vibe. It makes quirkiness briefly seem like a good thing again.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    May 29, 2011
    Writer-director Richard Ayoade's feature debut is witty and quirky, with a gripping performance by Paddy Considine.
  7. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jun 1, 2011
    The movie knocks itself unconscious trying to be offbeat, but instead of cinematic heart, the director self-indulges in cinematic art, drowning the whole thing in freeze frames, slow-motion and color-coding, owing everything he knows to the worst of Jean-Luc Godard and Wes Anderson.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Jun 5, 2011
    Normally I wouldn't give movies like this a 10, more of an 8 but due to the pretentious-steaming-pile-of-you-know-what people out there giving it a 0 I hae to try an balance it. Also Richard Ayoade is brilliant in everything he's done. Most notably 'The IT Crowd' and 'Garth Mergingi's Dark Place'. Please if you haven't seen it an only know the premise don't give it a rating. Your screwing with peoples bread and butter when you do. Expand
  2. Nov 1, 2013
    If you haven't established a philosophy for yourself yet, you will when you watch this movie. As the young man speaks the opening quote of the most realistic words I've probably ever heard, you will stay put in your seat, and sucked into finishing it. The movie is perfect- realism, detail, breaking the fourth wall (as minimally as possible), romance, humor, disaster, struggle of adolescence, bullying- I simply loved it. Plus, if you have a Netflix account, it is on there and has been for quite a while. I watch this movie at least once a month. Expand
  3. Feb 24, 2013
    Submarine delves into the delicate situations that a typical adolescent teen will most likely face as they approach the age of raging hormones and thinking they have the most difficult life imaginable, and of course, losing their virginity.
    For the Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), he often imagines himself outside of his own body, and with an opening segment of how he thinks (or how he wants to believe) that people would react to his death, this sets the tone for this fantastic coming-of-age film which is dangerously funny but subtly charming from debut director Richard Ayoade.
    Of course, no teen melodrama is compete without the female presence, and Oliver longs after the broken Jordana (Yasmin Paige) who is, in most ways, the female counterpart of our young protagonist.
    The film deals primarily with how an adolescent judges and acts upon common situations, whether it be in their own home or of course at school, and as Roberts narrates in a very detailed and logistic manner, we come to understand his characters life, his mother and fathers failing marriage, his awkward yet romantic relationship with Jordana and his struggles with trying to be accepted in school.
    Submarine is told in a very fast-paced and artistic style, with the story-telling left to the talented actors and actresses in the form of Roberts, Paige, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine.
    The film avoids the usual routine of teen movies with the over- abundance of sexual frustration, the film does deal with this head on, but does so in a quirky and unorthodox away that is beneficial not only to the likeable leads, but also to the pacing of the stories and its originality.
    Craig Roberts turn as the disgruntled teen is the standout of the film, he captures our imagination as to what crazy but meaningful things we have experimented on or considered in our younger days, and just how fast our mind can work when we are thrown into awkward or uncomfortable situations, he talks fast but gets the point across, and his analysis of scenarios that occur in his life are clever, but they don't try to throw in your face, thus making this film spontaneously funny, sometimes in the 'we maybe shouldn't laugh about that' moments, but his voice makes it seem ok to do so.
    A well written, thoughtful and superbly acted film, incorporating dark comedic moments with artistic and unique filming that brings something fresh and intriguing to the teen drama.
  4. Jun 6, 2011
    Reminds me a bit of Rushmore, but it doesn't feel like it's trying as hard as that film did. And the actors are much more accessible than Anderson's cast was. Love the music and the pacing, and the male lead is terrific. Hope to see him on the big screen again soon. Some HUGE laughs in the movie as well. Expand
  5. Jan 21, 2012
    An original and inventive movie that draws heavily from the likes of Wes Anderson. The acting is great, particularly the lead who successfully portrays a character who is conceited but also likeable. The movie manages to incorporate a range of emotions without the audience noticing any tonal shift, a difficult thing to achieve. It's not perfect of course. The two story lines seem to be competing for screen time rather than naturally co-existing and it can be difficult to get to the heart of the central character. The director, Richard Ayoade, nonetheless shows potential and looks set for future success. Expand
  6. Jul 31, 2011
    Easily one of the finest movies I've seen so far this year. It has a distinct style and an effectively told story thanks to its economic screenplay, flavorful direction and shrewd editing. The story becomes a bit more emotional as the movie progresses; as it takes issues in the story (such as teenage angst, marriage and mortality) more seriously and deals with them with greater depths. However, the filmaker was able to maintain the quirkiness and light humor throughout the film, with very little effort. This movie is surely not for everyone, but it sure was good. Expand
  7. Aug 10, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. You can't see the submarine in the fish tank that looms in the background of the Tate dining room, but it's there, a submarine transported to the eighties from 1963, straight out of a cornflakes box that a Yorkshire mother bought for her childish adult son. It belonged to Billy Fischer, also known as "Billy Liar", but now it's fifteen-year-old Oliver Tate(Craig Roberts) who must shoulder the burden of navigating the aquatic vessel through the adolescent waters bubbling under at home and school. The secondhand sub comes saddled with the baggage of a less-than-stellar history. Its new owner offers only a slight improvement over the submarine's predecessor. Both pilots, antiheroes to one degree or other, display a tendency to crack under heavy duress, creating an occasion for simulated violence, but whereas Billy imagines gunning down his loved ones in cold blood, Oliver's malevolence is more of the self-inflicted variety. While not an outright fibber like Billy, a would-be scriptwriter for a famous comedian, Oliver, at the very least, is a flagrant hypocrite. Jordana, described by the protagonist as a "moderately unpopular girl", bullies the even-less popular Zoe, who finds herself ostracized from her peers for being fat. Uncharacteristic of the underdog archetype, Oliver participates in the hectoring, because being a lout, he sees, brings him closer to his dream girl. When Zoe falls into the pond, it's as if she was assassinated, since the girl is no stranger to Oliver. She once played a prominent role in his short life, being on the receiving end of his first kiss, which puts her "murder" on par with the known people that Billy opens fire on with a hail of imaginary bullets, discharged from a gun manifested as rage. Oliver, an unaware dissembler, loans out "The Catcher in the Rye" for Jordana to read, even though he has become the sort of phony that Holden Caulfield rails against in the Salinger novel. Clearly, Oliver still sees himself as a victim, a hero of the underclass. On their first date, he takes Jordana to a matinee showing of "The Passion of Joan of Arc"(like Alvy taking Annie Hall to "The Sorrow and the Pity"), the 1928 silent classic about the purported French heretic who was burned at the stake by English decree. But what side is he on? Good or evil? In the Schlesinger film, the kingdom which Billy rules in his head, Ambrosia, etymologically speaking, is of Greek/Roman origin, suggesting the possibility that he models himself after Mussolini(the Italian dictator who killed innocent people for real), and not some benign prime minister. Like Billy, the young Scot, as aforementioned, leads a rich fantasy life, imagining his own celebrated demise, casting himself as a martyr of Wales, the Butler of Swansea, akin to Joan. In one scene, Jordana, a budding pyromaniac, burns the skin on Oliver's leg, but the boy lacks the fealty of a saint, as evidenced by his willingness to make a sacrifice out of Zoe for personal gain. It's Oliver who does the "burning", even Jordana, when in her time of need, he stays away from the hospital, where the girl's mother may be dying of cancer. Both Billy and Oliver use family obligations as an excuse for disappointing their women. In "Billy Liar", the titular character gets off the train to London, he thinks, to console his parents, grieving over the death of the family matriarch, but the truth of the matter is that the borderline sociopath(the grandma is one of his imagined victims) would rather live in Ambrosia's dreamscapes than the real world with Liz. Oliver, possessing some of the same issues as Billy, relies on the perceived eventuality of a parental divorce as the basis for his no-show, putting dad's depression before Jordana's crisis, when in reality it's cowardice, the pressure of living in a submarine, perhaps the very same one that Billy needs for his Ambrosian navy, which keeps the potentially homicidal boy(he had plans on poisoning her dog) away. But when it comes to growing up, the girls have it harder. In a fish tank, it's not the submarine you notice; it's the fish. At the outset of Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank", Mia, a 15-year-old everyteen trying to survive in the Essex Council Estate, may or may not be subjected to the male gaze of her mother's new beau. Passed out in their bed, Connor carries Mia to the room she shares with her younger sister, and for good measure, strips the girl down to her underwear. This act, vague in its intent, turns out to be replete with sexual intentions, after all, when Connor seduces the child on a living room couch, later on. The filmmaker not only indicts the statutory rapist as amoral, but the moviegoer, too. In the opening scene, we meet Mia, an aspiring dancer, performing in a room where the window is shaped like a fish tank. How are we looking at her: as a dancer or as a sex object? When she auditions as a stripper at a club, the answer becomes obvious. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews


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