Review: Adolescence

Adolescence is worth a watch on a Wednesday evening. It’s not quite your blockbuster weekend film, but I did like it. Watch the Trailer Below.

The desperation to escape can be over-powering, and coupled with the confusion of growing up it can be dangerous. Adolescence understands the exhilaration of love, and the heartache of a broken home.

Adolescence follows the story of shy, sensitive and artistic young teen Adam (Mickey River) as his home life begins to weaken and he seeks out this escape through drugs and love.

We begin With Adam as a typical teenager. He loves classic rock, he loves his friend Keith, (Romeo Miller) and he’s desperate for a girl. It’s an all too common story. Your friend has game, and you don’t, so he decides to help. Enter stage, Alice (India Eisley).

Alice is everything Adam wants. She’s fun, she’s crazy, she wants to hang out, party and drink beers, but most importantly she likes Adam. He’s desperate to tune out, and get away from his depressed mother, constantly cheating on his Dad, whilst his Dad drinks himself through his anger and disappointment at life. No one is happy. So, what do you do? Well, Alice provides an escape.


We don’t learn much about Alice except from her surrogate father Shepheard (Tommy Flanagan), who in my opinion is the second best character in Adolescence apart from the amazing (and hopefully my future best friend) Keith. Drawn in by the lull of love & sex, Adam and Alice enter a world of hard drugs before the friendship of Keith and father-like nature of Shepheard pull Adam out from within it.

We see a typical teenager descend into desperation, desperate for the affection of Alice, who seems only interested in the next hit, battling her own demons.

Where Adolescence excels, and perhaps also fails is that despite Alice’s addiction, and Adam’s search for bliss, the story never quite gets resolved, we see hope, but we see no happy ending. Yet, to be honest, I think that worked perfectly.

The only failing of this is a possibly inaccurate portrayal of true addiction for which you need ONLY Beautiful Boy to shine a light on. But, Adolescence isn’t really about the drugs, it’s about a search for yourself, and the understanding that you can’t shut yourself away from the world forever and that beauty (Keith) does exist.


The performances in this film are a high standard. India Eisley sometimes feels like she’s forcing it and Mickey River can appear disingenuous, but Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator, Sons of Anarchy) and Romeo Miller bring the film back. There are also excellent supporting performances from Elisabeth Rohm (Law & Order, Joy) and Michael Milford (Dave), who for me isn’t given enough screen time or sympathy, but is treated to a beautiful ‘almost’ reconciliatory scene towards the end as Adam moves on.

I do wonder why Shepheard helps Adam cure his addiction and why he suddenly, and without explanation, becomes so involved in his life, or how Keith has his phone number when he never seemed to talk to him which took me away from my immersion for a while. Nonetheless, the father son relationship was worth this quite massive plot hole. I have also written a long and harshly worded petition to the film industry to request that dark and gritty doesn’t have to literally mean dark and gritty. Dark and Gritty content, yes please, but I’d still like to see the characters faces. The sun never sees to rise in the seemingly dystopic world that Adolescence exists in.

Adolescence is worth a watch on a Wednesday evening. It’s not quite your blockbuster weekend film, but I did like it. Watch the Trailer Below.

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Films, games, Godzilla and Scott Pilgrim; these are the things that Alex loves. As he tries to make use of the fact he’s always staring at a screen or in a book, you’ll hopefully be treated to some good reviews along the way (though he doesn’t promise anything).


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