The only thing harder than surviving adolescence is communicating the experience after the last zit has dried up. The new comedy “Submarine,” opening Friday at Bethesda Row Cinema, walks a knife’s edge between charming and twee in its chronicle of the struggles of 15-year-old Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts).
“Submarine,” directed and adapted by Richard Ayoade from Joe Dunthorne’s 1998 novel of the same name, focuses on a character who’s difficult to love: a pretentious teen whose self-absorption boggles the mind — unless you happen to know a 15-year-old boy.
“You forgive him a lot of things,” laughs Ayoade. “[P]leasant characters aren’t terribly compelling.”
Even the film’s cinematography takes on a childlike grandiosity, with extensive fantasy sequences that telegraph Oliver’s internal tussling.
“The danger is that it looks like you’re enjoying cinematic tricks for their own sake,” Ayoade says. “But we selected things that would be appropriate to Oliver.”
» Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; opens Fri., $10; 301-652-7273. (Bethesda)
Photo courtesy of Dean Rogers/The Weinstein Company.