Plot via Sundance:
Following her mother’s death, a resourceful 12-year-old girl, Georgie (Lola Campbell), continues to live alone in their London-outskirts flat. She makes money stealing bikes with her friend, Ali (Alin Uzun), and keeps the social workers off her back by pretending to live with an uncle. It works like a charm until Jason (Harris Dickinson) shows up. Apparently, he’s her father — so long estranged that she doesn’t recognize him. Sizing him up as a rubbish dad (absent, messy, can’t cook), Georgie wonders why he’s suddenly taking an interest; especially when she’s doing just fine on her own, thank you very much.
Scrapper is a charming comedy-drama that deals with contemporary issues facing most Britains (social care, single parenting, truancy, loss of a parent) with a candy coated whimsicality that is more Wes Anderson than Ken Loach. It has enough dark moments but they all yield to the bonding sunshine.
In the beginning, the opening title card to Scrapper states,”It takes a village to raise a child,” but that is struck through and replaced with, “I can raise myself, thank you.”
That’s the 12 year old Georgie (Lola Campbell) talking her grim reality: her mom has passed away from cancer and she’s secretly living and raising herself. She has developed various sly strategies to keep social services at bay- phony uncles, bribed parental stand-ins, fake iPhone parental recordings. In a homage to the Vittorio De Sica classic she’s even a bicycle thief.
For every lonely cinematic child there must be a parent that shows up. Jason (Harris Dickinson), is the thirty year old father Georgie never met and has suddenly shown up. Georgie knows he’s her father because Jason points out that Georgie is wearing the shirt he gifted her mom when they were dating.
The two know each other well and can parry and thrust their best repartee. They also are good at being cons and at petty crimes.
If this Scrapper storyline sounds a lot like the plot to Peter Bogdanovich‘s Paper Moon, it is. That film is obviously an inspiration source. That and some Wes Anderson style.
Still it’s above the usual two hander comedy. The tight screenplay sprinkles in lots of funny characters and situations that click for the most part.
Scrapper at times be flippant and too smart for its own good but it pulls off its considerable charm.
Scraper gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.
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