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Submarine (2011)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 143
Fresh: 123 | Rotten: 20

Funny, stylish, and ringing with adolescent truth, Submarine marks Richard Ayoade as a talent to watch.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 6

Funny, stylish, and ringing with adolescent truth, Submarine marks Richard Ayoade as a talent to watch.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 23,866

My Rating

Movie Info

Fifteen-year-old Oliver Tate has two big ambitions: to save his parents' marriage via carefully plotted intervention and to lose his virginity before his next birthday. Worried that his mom is having an affair with New Age weirdo Graham, Oliver monitors his parents' sex life by charting the dimmer switch in their bedroom. He also forges suggestive love letters from his mom to dad. Meanwhile, Oliver attempts to woo his classmate, Jordana, a self-professed pyromaniac who supervises his journal


Drama, Comedy

Richard Ayoade, Joe Dunthorne

Oct 4, 2011


The Weinstein Company - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (145) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (123) | Rotten (20) | DVD (4)

That rare teen comedy where the kids aren't gorgeous, the hero isn't heroic and the object of desire has a lot of reasons why she isn't necessarily desirable.

July 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is a small, delicate comedy that depends on a continuity of tone that it pulls off. Oliver may not live happily ever after; but he manages to live happily enough here, and that's just fine.

June 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An exercise in briny Welsh Weltzschmerz that tracks the inner and outer worlds of a confused teenage boy.

June 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In its own right, "Submarine" is one of the best movies of the year.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Submarine'' has its own specific miseries and darkly funny vibe. It makes quirkiness briefly seem like a good thing again.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For an unreliable narrator, Oliver's story is reliably entertaining.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

SUBMARINE is a story about growing up all while not wanting to get older. It's what HAROLD & MAUDE would have been if they had met in high school.

August 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Gordon and the Whale
Gordon and the Whale

Submarine is a remarkably assured debut filled with dry humor, inventive visual wit and great performances.

July 10, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

The movie's conception of the tender agonies and embarrassments of would-be teenage lovers is hobbled by punchline cuts and predictable musical montages (carefree dashes, setting off bottle rockets, etc.).

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

That rare teen comedy where the kids aren't gorgeous, the hero isn't heroic and the object of desire has a lot of reasons why she isn't necessarily desirable.

January 15, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

It's funny, sad, touching and charming; a film that's in turns joyously ridiculous yet on occasion hits devastatingly close to home.

September 28, 2012 Full Review Source:

Though the subject matter is nothing new, every aspect of the film thrums with quality.

December 7, 2011 Full Review Source:

I look forward to more from director Richard Ayoade.

November 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

It's an intriguing low-key film that makes you think Holden Caulfield.

October 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A smug film made worse by its misuse of some genuinely arresting visuals.

October 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

A cool, well-directed, if somewhat sterile and self-consciously quirky affair about teen awkwardness, virginity, infidelity and dead-end marriages.

October 18, 2011 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

Submarine successfully combines the quirky and the sweet, in this representation of adolescence in all of its messy, overdramatic, and bumbling glory.

September 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Writer/director Richard Ayoade, who has directed some music videos, displays a hand behind the camera that is not only sure but also capable of unique feeling and wit.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Trespass

All of this makes it sound as if Ayoade is trying much too hard but the gentleness of his touch succeeds in keeping pretentiousness safely out of the picture.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

See it and let Oliver Tate remind you of the teenager you once were, or knew.

September 9, 2011 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

It just hits an eccentric, wry gorgeous note.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

A uniquely strange, yet totally accessible comic sensibility, fused by a brilliant script to a brace of pitch-perfect performances seals the deal.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

An idiosyncratic tone, one that is both funny and affecting, is far easier to sparingly strike than it is too maintain for the length of a feature. To his not inconsiderable credit, Richard Ayoade keeps a steady, if stylised, hand all the way through.

September 8, 2011 Full Review Source:

A quirky and stylistically idiosyncratic tale of an angst ridden teenager trying to win the heart of a girl and save his parents' marriage. With everyone in deadpan mode its funny but emotionally uninspiring.

September 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Screenwize

There have been any number of movies about the problems faced by teenagers when they fall in and out of love, but the team behind Submarine seem to have got it all just right.

September 7, 2011 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's too concerned with style to leave a lasting impression, yet it's also warming and witty enough to pass by without doing any harm.

September 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Moviedex

Audience Reviews for Submarine

September 20, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Oliver Tate: Her new boyfriend has an incredibly long neck. Just thinking about giraffes makes me angry. 

"A comedy that doesn't let principles stand in the way of progress."

Submarine is a great little coming of age story that honestly tells a tale of adolescent love and teenage problems. This is a film that isn't for everyone. It's a slow and contemplative movie that gets its laughs from the awkwardness of the protagonist who is entering his first relationship and doesn't really know how to go about it. The movie is refreshing in how it handles Oliver's life and how it presents him. 

Oliver Tate is a fifteen year old boy living in Wales with his mother and father. At the start of the film, he explains that his parents haven't had sex in 7 months and that he monitors them and just about everything they do. He also does routine room checks of his parents room. Oliver also has another interest, and her name is Jordana. Soon the two start dating and eventually they even take it to the next step. The relationship is handled rather well on screen, and it seems like a legit 15 year old relationship. Oliver's world starts changing when his mother starts spending a lot of time with a guy she had a past with. Now, he needs to save his parents relationship and hopefully his own.

This movie is beautifully made, with wonderful cinematography and fitting music. There's also a wonderfulness to the dialogue. It seems so honest and real. There's no big speeches about how much Oliver loves Jordana; only real words that a real 15 year old would speak. I appreciate the movie on a whole for being one of the few films that truly gets the teenage relationship factor. 

Submarine is a really worthwhile movie, and one that I would recommend as long as you like independent, sort of quirky, and quiet movies. I think I would like the movie much more after another viewing in the future, but as of now, I solidly like it. I haven't fallen in love with it yet, but I can definitely see that happening if I spend some more time with it.
November 23, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

'Submarine' is Richard Ayoade's directorial debut and although unique and interesting, felt overlong and sligtly forced. Quirkiness is a nice aspect in some films, it offers a refreshing change and can leave you smiling, 'Submarine' however decided to go on a one man (movie) mission into the deepest pits of whimsical comedy to emerge drenched in what can only be described as a coating of quirk that completely smothers the film.

When 'Amelie' did it, it felt just right, when 'Submarine' does it it becomes to much. The premise is still intersting and at it's core is executed well (the voiceover works) but overall I can't help but feel like it's an honest story with a load of rubbish on top.
August 24, 2012
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

I'm kinda all over the map with how I feel about this one. I like quirk, and I have found that once in a while I will enjoy awkward movies dealing with heartbreak and the awkwardness of adolescence and coming of age, but with this one, it really seemed like a mixed bag.

As I started to watch it, I pictured myself disliking it because it come off as forced, trying too hard, and being way too reminiscent of many other, often far better films. I had heard people say it took heavily from Wes Anderson, specifically Rushmore, and, while I could see that to a small extent, I was primarily reminded of Harold and Maude, mostly because of the overwhelming coldness and morosity of the leads. However, that movie was hilarious, subversive, and ultimately not that bleak at all.

This started to grow on me, and even though the characters aren't really all that likeable, I can't say I was really all that bored, even if I didn't find myself caring too much at times. Maybe the stylistic touches and cinematogrpahy had something to do with it. The film is maybe too obvious with its influences, but it does come around and become its own thing. That, and who says that all protagonists HAVE to be likeable and relatable? Ever see The Mosquito Coast? That's a great example of a terrific film with an absolutely loathsome lead character.

Okay, the plot: it's the classic story of a young kid named Oliver trying to find his place in the world who has his first real experience with love with a girl who is just as out there and awkward as him. I can't really call her the Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype since she's more cold and not that perky, but she is kinda like WInslet's character from Eternal Sunshine, but as a young Welsh girl. All of this goes on while Oliver's parents's marriage might be ending.

The film is funny at times, but, and while I kinda like that it was downplayed with the laughs, it might be on the other side of quirky and whimsy as far as extremes go, meaning that it might not be light enough. Ultimately I did find myself happy for seeing the film, as I qas expecting it to be a complete ripoff, and it took a left and did the opposite. Yeah, I might not be totally happy with the direction it took, however, I appluad the film for not becoming totally predictable.

Craig Roberts is fine as Oliver, though he didn't blow me out of the water. That award goes to Yasmin Paige as Jordana, Oliver's love interest. She's a fascinating character, and, though I feel awkward about admitting this, she's actually really cute and adorable, and has this magnetic quality about her that makes her really desirable for some reason. If I were younger, she's the type of girl I might try to go for myself. We've also got these youngsters backed by some great odler supporters, namely Noah Taylor as Oliver's withdrawn dad and Paddy Considine as a self help guru and ex of Oliver's mom who starts to re-enter the picture.

All in all, I'm still mixed on the film. I do give it a small recommendation if you're in the mood for something different and want to see a colder take on this tried and true formula, but as far as specific grades go, I'd say strong 3 to no more than a very slight 3.5.
July 25, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Oliver Tate: Bound to be disappointing? So why wait?
    – Submitted by Jane Morla A (17 months ago)
    1. Oliver Tate: Sorry, I thought you were someone else.
    – Submitted by Jane Morla A (17 months ago)
    1. Oliver Tate: You're too good for me, you're too good for anyone.
    – Submitted by Jane Morla A (17 months ago)
    1. Oliver Tate: I don't quite know what I am yet. I've tried flipping coins, listening exclusively to french crooners, I've even had a brief hat phase but nothing stuck.
    – Submitted by Jane Morla A (17 months ago)
    1. Oliver Tate: My mother is worried I have mental problems.
    – Submitted by Jane Morla A (17 months ago)
    1. Lloyd Tate: It's a kettle.
    – Submitted by Joey S (20 months ago)
View all quotes (23)

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