Film review of Sarah Gavron’s Rocks (12A)
PUBLISHED: 14:47 10 September 2020
The Dartmouth Park director of Suffragette shines a feminist lens on female friendship and teen life as a 15-year-old tries to raise her younger brother in East London
The opening scene establishes that Rocks (Bakray) and her group of friends are in that narrow patch of inner east London where you get an uninterrupted view of The Gherkin. Geographically, this is tightly defined but as a drama about young people, Rocks allows itself a little bit of wriggle room, and doesn’t go down all the usual dark alleys of inner-city youth film.
15-year-old Rocks is a bit over-exuberant at times but is basically no trouble, so it seems cosmically unfair that one day her mother up and leaves because she can’t cope. To protect her little brother (Kissiedu) she tries to go it alone, but her best efforts quickly unravel. When she should be studying and having fun with her friends she finds herself stuck in a Ken Loach-hell dealing with dodgy landlords and fending off the social services.
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There are some tough times but Gavron’s film is an honest and upbeat look at female friendship and teenage life that is moving and well-acted.
At times, I could even understand what they were saying.
Starring: Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D’angelou Osei Kissiedu, Shaneigha-Monik Greyson, Ruby Stokes and Tawheda Begum. Running time: 93 mins.
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