Submarine: A Comedy that Doesn’t Let Principles Stand in the Way of Progress (2010)

Posted: June 5, 2012 in Comedy, Drama

Worried about the fate of his parents’ relationship, Oliver Tate has begun to devote part of his life to taking note of their closeness as a couple. Even still, his grade school mission of making love for the first time is also full steam ahead. His hopeful partner is the dreary and somewhat malicious Jordana Bevan. After an act of pettiness to catch her attention, the two start a rather unconventional romance, without the romantic part. As his relationship seems to blossom, his fears about his parents’ struggles grow with the intrusion of their neighbors. Oliver starts to spy on the activities of Graham Purvis, as he feels that Graham could be trying to seduce his mother. Unable to get his father to have a significant reaction, Oliver takes matters into his own hands, even at the risk of his own relationship with Jordana.

Starring: Noah Taylor (Lloyd Tate), Paddy Considine (Graham Purvis), Craig Roberts (Oliver Tate), Yasmin Paige (Jordana Bevan), Sally Hawkins (Jill Tate), Darren Evans (Chips)

Narrated by the young Craig Roberts, his representation of a intelligent and troubled young man is rather intriguing. He presents the character as fairly mature in certain ways and extremely inexperienced in others. As his parents, Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins are similar in their awkwardness but play their characters with different senses of adventure. Taylor is more apt to maintaining the status quo, while Hawkins gives her character a desire to search for something more. To provide the conflict for the Tate family, Paddy Considine serves as a somewhat energetic and awkward motivational speaker. With the other storyline, Yasmin Paige brings forth an effort wrapped in toughness and dominance, seemingly to take control of the weaker-spirited lead. She shows some moments of softness, but quickly destroys any remnants with flashes of anger or aggression.Darren Evans serves as Robert’s supposed best friend, though his character resembles more of an instigator than a real friend.


Richard Ayoade takes a look into the complicated life of a teenage only-child, who has more time on his hands than he knows what to do with. Oliver is a rather odd character from the start. He has a large vocabulary and tends to speak of adult issues and complications while approaching them with very naive and immature actions. For his love life, he zeros in on someone he determines is not too far out of his league. Using eczema as a way of bringing her down to earth, he finds a way to get her attention and then becomes nearly obedient to her every demand in an effort to get sex. While the film makes a clear effort to remove any mature images beyond kissing out of the story, there is still a clear dialogue that highlights their progression as a couple. Their conflict later in the film also seems to  come more from Oliver’s focus on his parents more so than his challenges with being there for her emotionally. Ayoade seemed to allow this storyline to get a little sloppy in the hope of being able to highlight the other half of the story.


In regards to his parents, their story also seems to be lacking a bit of development. While Oliver’s narrations highlight their distancing romantically and Lloyd’s vacant behavior, there does not seem to be a true reason for their struggles. It possibly could be due to time and comfort with each other, but their personality differences seem to indicate that Jill would have outwardly addressed their problems quite a long time ago. Her frustration with Oliver’s involvement also seems a little empty, as she suspects his intrusion in their affairs but takes no actions within her relationship with Lloyd to address any of their problems. In the end, it seems that Graham’s disruption of the family dynamics causes the two to eventually figure out that a romantic night together periodically can spark the passion they have for each other (which seems a little uneventful when the revelation arrives).

While this film is interesting in similar ways to movies like Rushmore, most of the characters are somewhat unlikeable and dry. This also appears to be a comedy that lacks the humor and just falls short as bland as the characters.

Dan’s Rating: 2.0/5


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