Based on the play of the same name, Scarborough is about two couples who go to a hotel for a weekend in the seaside town of Scarborough. The film follows Liz (Jodhi May) and Daz (Jordan Bolger), Aiden (Edward Hogg) and Beth (Jessica Barden) as they talk about their relationships. However, their relationships are not the conventional type, as Liz and Aiden are teachers and Daz and Beth are their students.
Scarborough sets out to follow the two relationships but does so at a distance, never judging the couples as their relationships start to mirror each other. The dialogue feels realistic, with each couple talking about things and getting along as any couple would, the only difference being that besides their age gap, their affairs started in a place that if anyone were to find out, one of them would go to prison.
All the cast are great, the film feels as if the audience are watching real couples who may be in way over their heads when temptation overcomes them. The way the film plays out feels natural, never contrived or forcing the audience to feel one way or another about the couples. However, the stand out performances are from Jodhi May and Jessica Barden.
The former being a middle-aged teacher caught up in the excitement of a younger man finding her attractive, but still worrying about how things will work out. The latter being a portrayal of a happy-go-lucky teenage girl with a dark sense of humour who doesn’t understand the consequences of her actions. Overall the story follows the cast as their lives reflect each other almost perfectly, with some scenes even having exactly the same dialogue.
However, despite the couples feeling so realistic, there is a sense that the situation is still a little cliché. There are a couple of surprises along the way, but because they feel so grounded there is never anything that really blows the audience away. Despite the attempt at letting the audience decide whose side they are on, by making the cast so even handed the audience never gets the chance to feel strongly for either one of the couples.
Scarborough plays at a distance to its audience, making them feel like observers rather than getting them involved and so the end result feels somewhat empty. There are many relationships like this all over the world, not just in Scarborough, sometimes they work out and sometimes one person in the couple sets out to corrupt the other.
Unfortunately, despite its great performances and realistic script, Scarborough’s story doesn’t really give much to its audience that it hasn’t already seen or imagined before.
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