Submarine (2010, Richard Ayoade)

As a rule, I don’t like movies about precocious, lovestruck schoolkids. But I like Richard Ayoade and this got good reviews and Rushmore comparisons, so I checked it out. Extremely well-done – funny and atmospheric, two things that rarely go together. It’s Wes Andersonian without seeming derivative.

Oliver Tate worries that his parents (Sally Hawkins of Happy-Go-Lucky and Noah Taylor, appropriately of The Life Aquatic) aren’t getting along, pines after a classmate named Jordana, and envisions his own life in that sweetly megalomaniacal manner that teenagers do.

Drama: Oliver gets the girl, then loses her when he panics and doesn’t come to the hospital on the day of her mother’s cancer surgery. And Oliver’s mom might be cheating with the next-door neighbor (new-age spokesman Paddy Considine). For a movie starring a kid, it works out its conflicts in a refreshingly mature way.

Oliver checks up on his parents:

Paddy Considine: