(NEW YORK) -- Coming-of-age stories are often similar to romantic comedies: predictable, formulaic and boring. Submarine is none of the above. When we first meet 15-year-old Oliver Tate, he is imagining what it might be like if he died. His classmates hold vigils, girls cry, his parents hold a press conference. This scene sets the tone for a film that dabbles with a charmingly self-conscious narrative that will make you smile.
While we've seen the teen too-smart-for-his-own good thing done a thousand times, Oliver, as a character, manages to simultaneously be a lovable loser, a confident hero and an uncomfortable outcast. He is calculating enough to win Jordana Bevan, a girl in his league -- that is, not popular -- but not smart enough to know he can't outwit his heart when it comes to matters of love. Then there's Oliver's embarrassing attempt to save his mother from cheating on his father with her ex-boyfriend, a self-help guru named Graham Purvis, who just moved next door.
Submarine is an original and poignant coming-of-age story that is both intelligent and hilarious.
Four out of five stars.
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