Kids in Love
Chris Foggin’s Kids in Love follows a group of kids living a lifestyle that doesn’t conform to any expectations set on them by society of their parents.
That’s a farily bland summary but a big issue this film has is its lack of attempt to make any point about modern living in any way. I can almost see what it’s getting at but whatever it is trying to say is buried deeply under a load of other nonsense that it’s hard to look at the overall experience as being anything other than disposable.
Perhaps that is exactly the point. The case study here is Jack (Will Poulter) who basically has his entire life mapped out in front of him. He’s going to take a year off to go travelling with his best friend, take an internship at a Law Firm then head off to university before serving out the rest of his days as a Lawyer.
Doesn’t that all sound great? Well maybe not for Jack who wonders if there’s anything more to life than what his parents have planned for him. It’s a fair question and one that is initially relatable since most of us have questioned where our life is heading and wondered if that was the right path for us.
Jack’s desire to explore other experiences before arriving at a decision on what he wants to do starts off being really compelling. It all starts after a chance encounter with a beautiful and mysterious French girl named Evelyn (Alma Jodrowsky) who inducts him into a life free of responsibility where young people are free to do whatever they want with no apparent consequences.
This works as a contrast to the sort of life Jack is used to. He goes from having everything completely regimented to having a sense of freedom that he has never experienced before and it’s very appealing. The more time he spends with Evelyn and her bizarre group of friends the more he starts to feel at home with their way of life and this causes him to begin turning his back on everything that was planned for his future.
While this seems like a solid basis for an internal conflict the results are really muddled. It feels like Jack is a little too easily sucked into this new way of life without questioning it too heavily. In the beginning he retains the ties he has to his responsibilities but it quickly fades and there is very little pushback from the other forces in his life that we see. There are a couple of arguments with his best friend Tom (Jamie Blackley) and one major argument with his parents but beyond that it seems that he’s free to come and go as he pleases. I also didn’t feel that the rift being created between his new friends and Tom was as clear a problem as it should have been. There is very little sense at how close they are as friends so the impact when that friendship falls apart is heavily diminished.
The film excels in the quirky cast of characters on display. It’s hard not to be entertained by the off the wall personality that is Cassius (Preston Thomas) and Cara Delevigne’s Viola manages to be memorable despite having fairly limited screen time. The other young characters come and go and provide entertainment when they appear. The important thing is that they all feel like young people who are incredibly naive because they have no real boundaries helping them contextualise what life really is. It is really questionable how they manage to have two large houses to live in as well as a Rolls-Royce to drive around in. When I’m forced to question where they got all of that from then the film isn’t quite doing its job.
Another major failing is in the characterisation of Evelyn. Considering she is the driving force for Jack turning his back on all of his responsibilities it’s important for her to feel somewhat worth it at least as far as he’s concerned. She is more a collection of traits that a confused young man would find desirable such as beauty, mystery, the exotic touch that goes hand in hand with being from a foreign country and the constant sense that she is just out of his reach. On that score it works but any attempt to develop her beyond that doesn’t quite work.
The story lacks any kind of definitive resolution which unfornatuley is the logical result of the premise coasting on the idea that Jack would find Evelyn compelling enough to abandon everything he had planned. By the time the film ends there’s a sense of emptyness that comes with the plot not holding together as well as it needs to.
Despite that the film really works on a lot of levels. Jack is a good character and as mentioned above the other young characters are entertaining. I did find the story to be as repetitive and meandering as the lives of the characters themselves but there is some entertainment value to be found in the overly long running time.
An uneven experience that makes some attempt to tackle the desire to rebel against the expectations placed on young people. The story is really meandering and overall disjointed but the colourful cast of characters creates some memorable moments. Jack is a likable character but the object of his affection is so thin that it’s hard to believe that she’s worth abandoning everything he had planned for. All told it’s a somewhat entertaining experience but is bogged down by underdeveloped ideas and a repetitive plot.
- the attempt to make a valid point about the expectations placed on young people
- memorable characters
- some really entertaining moments
- the characterisation of Evelyn failing to justify Jack turning his back on his plans
- a repetitive and meandering plot