Winner of a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Scrapper is full of spirit, humour, and formal inventiveness that sets it apart from much of British working-class cinema. Harris Dickinson and remarkable newcomer Lola Campbell imbue irresistible charm into this moving and frequently hilarious story of two emotionally tangled people: a grieving kid thrust into adulthood and a father in over his head.
The father-daughter comedy follows Georgie (Campbell), a resourceful 12-year-old girl who secretly lives alone in her flat in a working class suburb of London following the death of her mother. She makes money stealing bikes with her best friend Ali (Alin Uzun) and keeps the social workers off her back by pretending to live with an uncle. Out of nowhere, her estranged father Jason (Dickinson) arrives and forces her to confront reality. Uninterested in this sudden new parental figure, Georgie is stubbornly resistant to his efforts. As they adjust to their new circumstances, Georgie and Jason find that they both still have a lot of growing up to do.
You could see how Scrapper could be played for tragedy or melodrama, even. But writer/director Charlotte Regan establishes a fluid, flexible tone and mood, giving her enormous freedom with the material. The fluidity allows for whimsy, pathos, tenderness, humor, and even meta-asides, where neighbors turn to the camera and comment on the action, functioning as a judgmental Greek chorus.
Venue: William Loveless Hall