They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. 12-year-old Georgie (Lola Campbell) would argue otherwise. “I can raise myself, thank you,” she announces, irreverently, in the opening minutes of Scrapper. Grieving for her mother who raised her alone, the young girl tries by all means to continue living in their apartment in east London, without anyone’s help – except perhaps her best friend. and accomplice Ali (very endearing Alin Uzun).
Throughout the first third of the work, we witness all the misadventures caused by this singular way of life. Resale of stolen bikes, fake calls to social workers (who are convinced that Georgie is under the guardianship of his uncle… Winston Churchill!) and a number of other shenanigans that allow him to get away with it. But, surprise: a character intervenes who disrupts his plans. Her biological father, Jason (Harris Dickinson), has been made aware of the situation and wants to be involved in his daughter’s life.
Above all a film about childhood, but also about the working class, Scrapper is interested in those who fall through the cracks, those whose destiny escapes the system and who get by. It is a tribute to the people saved by their imagination. Charlotte Regan’s sparkling production allows us to see these themes in a new light. A host of colorful secondary characters break the fourth wall (social services, the popular girls at school and the bike dealer), acting like a Greek chorus responsible for addressing the audience to tell them about Georgie.
The blatant complicity between the two protagonists – and between the two main actors – is exceptional. Although Georgie is initially reluctant, she eventually realizes that now that she knows Jason, she “can’t stop knowing him.” And from that moment they form a touching duo: a teenager in an adult body and his offspring, an inconvenient old lady in a child’s body.
There is always something tragic in stories of children forced to grow up too quickly. But Scrapper also doesn’t fail to make you smile, among other things thanks to the fantastic elements and the comic sense of Lola Campbell. The interpreter of Georgie is the beating heart of this first film by Charlotte Regan, which will easily find its place in the British cinematic landscape.