Film review: The Selfish Giant - grim stuff, but the kids are all right
Dir. Clio Barnard. Starring Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, 91mins (15)
Friday 25 October 2013
Nominally "inspired by" Oscar Wilde's children's story of the same name, but having a more Dickensian fascination with social deprivation and squalor, The Selfish Giant is about two lads on a dilapidated Bradford housing estate who get excluded from school, and begin stealing metal and riding horses for a local gypsy scrap merchant.
It is proudly in the British social-realist tradition, alongside the films of, for example, Ken Loach. And, as in Loach's 1969 film Kes, which was also set in Yorkshire, and was also about being young and impoverished and written off in life, there is an offer of momentary escape and companionship from the animal kingdom.
But The Selfish Giant is a far grimmer, less hopeful – and, concomitantly, less heartbreaking film. The untrained young actors (Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas) lend it lots of youthful vigour and energy.
But there was never any chance of a redemptive or happy ending. That miserable, self-seeking hopelessness, the film suggests, is what poverty in modern Britain looks like.
Review: Of Mice and Men
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
Arts & Ents blogs
Game of Thrones rape scene: George R. R. Martin says 'whole dynamic' was different in the book
The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones season 4, episode 3, TV review - 'Enjoyable but no Purple Wedding'
Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show
Eurovision 2014 contestants: Meet all the acts from Molly Smitten-Downes to Conchita Wurst
Ukip election posters: Nigel Farage defends 'racist' campaign anti-immigration campaign ahead of Europe elections
Is Britain really a land of God? Furious debate after David Cameron claims we are a Christian country
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Ukip leader Nigel Farage defends employing German wife, at launch of anti-immigration poster campaign
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 1 Revealed: Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases
- 2 David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show
- 5 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’