Tuesday’s Overlooked: Submarine (2010)

My pick this week is the BAFTA-nominated directorial debut of comedian Richard Ayoade, best known by many from his work on the cult television series The IT Crowd.

Submarine is based on a 2008 novel and stars Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine. It is mostly a “coming-of-age” story about a teen’s (Roberts) first love (Paige). The “B” story center’s around the youth’s home life and his parents’ (Hawkins, Taylor) complicated relationship, exacerbated by the introduction of when a newcomer (Considine).

Please don’t let my rather pedestrian description deter you, although it generally falls into the aforementioned tried and tested film genre, it is worth a look in thanks to some convincing performances by the entire cast as well as the direction of Ayoade.

(Fun Fact: Submarine was produced by Ben Stiller, who would later co-star with Ayoade in 2012’s The Watch).

Although the film is set in 1986, the cinematography really evokes a feeling (in my opinion anyway) of the previous decade. I may be mixing up my terms here, but there is a combined tea-stained, cinéma vérité look to the film that works very well for me.

Granted, this is definitely not a picture for everyone. Although there are quite the number of funny moments, Submarine maintains a fairly dark tone. I recall one review I read, upon the film’s release, having drawn parallels to another similarly themed coming of age tale, Harold and Maude. Now I cannot directly attest to that, having not seen Harold and Maude except for the odd movie clips, it is a very offbeat outing, so if you like your British comedies on the kookier than usual side, then I suggest you take a look at Submarine.


Also make sure to check out Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom for other overlooked titles.


  1. Very good film. Really enjoyed watching Submarine. Visually it’s fantastic, but I did have a few problems just warming up to some of the characters.
    Jaina recently posted..A maybe weekly round-upMy Profile

    • Yeah they were quite hard to warm up to especially given their actions and attitudes. I take it as all part of the tone that Adoaye is establishing. He is an interesting person himself (my opinion based on some interviews he has given in past).

  2. H&M a bit cutesy, but I suspect you’ll find it interesting (you can hear the mob with torches assembling at that description), as I did, gosh, some thirty years ago…maybe more…(gives a sense of how my memories of that one are a bit faded). This one might be taking on a slightly different set of taboos?
    Todd Mason recently posted..Friday’s Forgotten Books, the Links, and: E PLURIBUS UNICORN by Theodore Sturgeon; NINE HORRORS AND A DREAM by Joseph Payne Brennan; (HORROR STORIES FROM) TALES TO BE TOLD IN THE DARK edited by Basil DavenportMy Profile

  3. My goodness! I had no idea this was Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut! Maybe I have read it before I saw The IT Crowd, which was such a hilarious show. I’ll give it a chance on that account then, thanks Iba.
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