Movie Review: Kids in Love (2016)

1 Stars
Kids in Love (2016)

Kids in Love (2016)


Director: Chris Foggin

Cast: Will Poulter, Alma Jodorowsky, Sebastian De Souza

Synopsis: Immediately after leaving school, a boy falls for a French girl who leads a Bohemian lifestyle.

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Apart from a note-perfect performance from Will Poulter, the biggest strength of Chris Foggin’s Kids in Love is its heightened sense of impermanence, of that brief, shining moment when we were still pliable enough for love – possibly our first – to shape the person we became.   It has this idyllic, dreamlike quality about it that reflects how the passing of time colours our recollections of that defining moment in our lives.   Back then, everything was golden, and exciting, and… better, somehow.  Our young life had reached that temporary point of inertia when we had finally become adults but had not yet assumed full responsibility for our lives, or relinquished the carefree spontaneity of youth.

Our surrogate is Jack (Poulter – We’re the Millers), an only child born into suffocating upper-middle class affluence, whose future largely appears to have been planned by others.   Tom (Jamie Blackley), his best friend, assumes they will spend their gap year travelling around South America, while his father has lined him up with an internship with a lawyer friend.   It looks as if he’ll go along with their plans until he meets a girl called Evelyn (Alma Jodorowsky).   Evelyn is French and very pretty, and Jack is smitten enough to find the pub where, in a half-teasing invitation, she had told him she would be.   She’s pleased to see him, and introduces him to her friends, a Bohemian bunch apparently free of all ties and responsibilities.  Theirs is a world that’s alien to Jack, and Kids in Love does little to explain why such an unremarkable kid would be welcomed into a group that seems so different and insular.

Many films would find some dark secret within this group, something to at least challenge Jack’s moral code, but Kids in Love isn’t interested in orthodox plot developments, preferring instead to focus on Jack and his feelings for Evelyn.   He’s dismayed to find she has a boyfriend, Milo (co-writer, Sebastian De Souza), a sometime pimp, but hangs around in the hope that their relationship will falter.   He drifts, and spends the money he’d saved for the trip to South America with the best friend he now neglects.

It’s a shame that De Souza and co-writer Preston Thompson (who also bags himself a role in the film) didn’t spend more time fleshing out Evelyn’s friends, because they come across as little more than pretty mannequins who nudge Jack this way and that as he watches and waits (it’s no coincidence his interest in photography is revived shortly after meeting his ideal girl).   Little attention is paid to explaining how these kids fund their mildly hedonistic lifestyles.   Two of the girls – possibly sisters – have a cottage in the country which they hardly ever visit, and a vintage Rolls Royce in storage.   We can presume they have wealthy parents, but it would be nice to be given some kind of back story.

Kids in Love is worth a watch for the likable performance from Poulter, who nicely captures the gawky self-consciousness of an anxious neophyte endeavouring to look cool while feeling completely out of his depth, and for its nostalgic, if undeniably quixotic, vision of carefree youth which we all remember but, in reality, probably never really knew.

(Reviewed 31st August 2016)

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