Newcomer Craig Roberts takes at least a pound and a half of inspiration from Bud Cort's romantically inclined misfit in Harold and Maudefor his defiantly humorous portrayal of the 15-year-old Oliver Tate. However derivative of Catcher in the Rye Joe Dunthorne's source novel might be, screenwriter/director Richard Ayoade spins it into cinematic gold. Here is a refreshing coming-of-age movie that knows where to pull punches and where to let fly.
The virgin-breaking action takes place in the windswept landscape of Swansea, Wales
Oliver's ongoing pithy inner monologue of quips about his flirtation with eccentric habits and off-center observations is the product of an overactive intellect matched only by his libido. Jordana effortlessly matches him in both departments. She is just as hyper-verbal as he is. Fast-twitch dry wit never seemed so natural.
The filmmakers maintain a tantalizing tone of tongue-in-cheek affectation without giving into the saturation of irony on display. Erik Wilson's sumptuous cinematography registers filmic delight in every frame. There's real tenderness here. Grade: A-
Opens July 8. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.