Having grown up together on a caravan park on the Norfolk coast where their respective parents work, young teenagers David (Thomas Turgoose) and Emily (Holly Grainger) have become close friends, deeply reliant on each other for distractions and mischief. It’s a shock to them both when it’s decided that Emily is to be sent away to live with her father, and there’s even greater alarm throughout the park community when Emily disappears. David struggles to cope as the situation grows ever more complex. The debut feature from Tom Harper, director of a number of acclaimed shorts, and written by playwright and Skins contributor Jack Thorne, The Scouting Book for Boys is an expertly constructed drama with deftly handled shifts in tone, depicting the anxieties, awkwardness and fears of being a teenager, without denying the occasional delights of being young or the possibility of fun and adventure during a hazy British summer. Thomas Turgoose continues to build on the reputation he’s gained appearing in Shane Meadows’ This Is England and Somerstown, while Holly Grainger delivers an equally impressive performance as Emily. An excellent supporting includes Steven Mackintosh, Rafe Spall and Susan Lynch. —bfi
Very dark. It drags a bit in places but is an interesting film. I didn't find either of the main characters all that likable, but then I though maybe I'm not supposed to. I didn't find myself rooting for either of them, but still wanted to know what would happen to them. Very nicely shot though.