Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s story of the same name, The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about two teenage boys who get caught up in the world of copper theft. Director Clio Barnard based her adaptation on stories she was told and people she met whilst making her previous feature.
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I saw this twice (when working) and both times the rest of the cinema and myself had to stay in our seats to compose ourselves after uncontrollably weeping in the last act. The last 3rd of this film is worth every second of the build up.
An honest film. It can be hard to relate to some films however similar they seem to our own lives. Barnard's The Selfish Giant leaves you feeling empathetic despite your background, this is probably true to the very real performance of the protagonists actor, Conner Chapman.
Somewhat meandering Loachian effort from Clio Barnard that revels in the British kitchen sink tradition of portraying abject poverty, hopelessness and misguided determination. Not so far removed from the work of Shane Meadows and Lynne Ramsay, Barnard needs to find a distinctive voice for herself to live up to the promise of 'The Arbor'. Performances seem earnest enough but emotional resonance arrives too late.
Anchored firmly in the bleak, going-nowhere-fast tradition of depressing British drama The Selfish Giant does have a bit more going for it. It's well made, has a mesmerising performance from lead protagonist Conner Chapman, introduces horses into this usually urban context and keeps the viewer invested with several plot turns. There are moments of cliche and stereotype with the scrap boss that detract. 3 stars
A devastating exploration of the desperation of impoverished Britons, in this case 2 boys who are kicked out of school & turn to copper thievery. Barnard has great empathy for her characters, not only examining the deep bond of boyhood friendships & their strange sense of platonic romance, but an entire population that has been forgotten and left behind. Raw like a festering wound, but devastatingly blunt.
Brilliant. I enjoyed the experimental weirdness of the Arbor, but here in a purely fictional narrative world, Director / Writer Clio Barnard seems much more at home and in control. This film will rip your heart out in the best of ways.
As raw and heart-breaking as Arnold's 'Fish Tank'. Breathes life into that oft overlooked kitchen-sink social realism sub-genre of British cinema. Leigh and Loach have contenders to their authorial crown.