Submarine (2011)


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


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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 writing - especially the bits about her. When necessary, she orders him to cross things out. -- (C) Weinstein

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Craig Roberts
as Oliver Tate
Noah Taylor
as Lloyd Tate
Sally Hawkins
as Jill Tate
Paddy Considine
as Graham Purvis
Yasmin Paige
as Jordana Bevan
Steffan Rhodri
as Mr. Davey
Osian Cai Dulais
as Mark Pritchard
Lily McCann
as Zoe Preece
Otis Lloyd
as Keiron
Elinor Crawley
as Abby Smuts
Gemma Chan
as Kim-Lin
Melanie Walters
as Jude Bevan
Sion Tudor Owen
as Brynn Bevan
Jonny Wier
as Malcolm
Lydia Fox
as Miss Dutton
Claire Cage
as News Reporter
Andrew Phillips
as Rhydian Bird
Rikki Hall
as School Boy
Tom Ryan
as School Boy
James Jones
as School Boy
Sophy Halligan
as Watkins Twin
Tanya Brady
as Watkins Twin
Sarah Pasquali
as Woman Who Looks Nothing Like Jordana
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Critic Reviews for Submarine

All Critics (152) | Top Critics (38)

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.

Jul 17, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4

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.

Jun 24, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

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

Jun 24, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

Jun 17, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

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

Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Submarine



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.

Melvin White
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.

Cameron Sherwell
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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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