Directed by Guy Myhill
We’re in the middle of a heat-wave in Fenland England. Goob Taylor has spent each of his sixteen summers helping Mum run the transport cafe and harvest the surrounding beet fields. When Mum shacks up with swarthy stock-car supremo and ladies’ man gene Womack, Goob becomes an unwelcome side thought. However Goob’s world turns when exotic beet picker Eva arrives. Fuelled by her flirtatious comments, Goob dreams of better things.
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★★★★ review by Gavin Rye on Letterboxd
I’m from Norfolk, where this film is shot and set and there just really aren’t enough films made around here. As is evident from this film, it has a certain charm to it and a look that is pretty unique to the area.
The film it’s self is an off beat little number that actually reminded me of Gummo a little at times. The lead here even looks a little like Tummler from that film. It’s shot in a hand held way much like Gummo too. Story wise things are quite bare as we kind of just follow this guy around and observe his life as he struggles with his mother’s new boyfriend, who is played to perfection by Sean Harris who also dons a near perfect Norfolk accent.
I recognized a lot of the mentalities of characters here from the Norfolk area, which is kind of unfortunate, but a testament to the filmmaking skills of Guy Myhill. In the extras for the film, he mentions wanting to make a trilogy of Norfolk set films, so I hope that they come to fruition and It would be great to see more films coming out of the area in the future.
★★★★ review by Mark Cunliffe on Letterboxd
It always surprises me that there are so many regions and areas of the UK that remain overlooked when it comes to TV and film. All too often we see the same settings; London, Manchester, a homogenized Yorkshire, Cardiff, Glasgow. So it's genuinely refreshing to see Guy Myhill has not only chosen to feature Norfolk and the flat fenlands as his setting for The Goob, but that he has produced something truly cinematically unique and special with this oft-ignored region that it at once both so English and so alien. His cinematographer Simon Tindall captures the scenery in a beguiling dream-like manner, using the vast skies that dominate the level landscape in a suitably claustrophobic manner.
The Goob is an arty socially realistic drama very much about the prisons we submit ourselves too. It's a theme that is signposted from the film's opening line of dialogue, which sees the school coach driver wish the titular teenager Goob luck in life, providing he can leave 'this shithole'. Through Goob's eyes we can see the damage done to the souls of those who failed to take heed of such advice, most notably the old-before-her-years cafe worker Mary (a surprisingly downbeat turn from former S Club popster Hannah Spearitt) and his own needy, tearful mother played by Sienna Guillory, stuck in a relationship with belligerent stock car racer, pumpkin farm owner and chief gaolor in Goob's life, Gene Womack, played by Sean Harris with his usual, effective unsettling air.
Goob has several opportunities to do as advised - from a girl he meets at the local stock car meet, to Oliver Kennedy's defiantly flamboyantly camp co-worker and lastly the exotic and chic Eva (Marama Corlett) a transient worker on the pumpkin farm - but will the oddly detached youth take the chance?
Newcomer Liam Walpole is very arresting as Goob. Open faced, angular and with ears like big thick pork chops, he is the observer of his own life, an awkward blank page that is indicative of the uncertain future that lies ahead of him now he has left school. Underneath his absent gangly manner and gawky skin there's a dumb insolence and intelligence occasionally on display which suggests he knows full well that he should leave the domestic dictatorship of Womack's making, but there's clearly something there holding him back and it's perhaps not until we realise how needy his mother played by Sienna Guillory is that we understand the unspoken duty he feels he has to remain.
In keeping with a coming of age story which features a boy whose future is anyone's guess, The Goob's narrative is rather fragmentary and non-linear with scenes drifting hazily through like the long summery days the film takes place in. Sometimes this can hamper a film, but The Goob holds your attention throughout. This impressive full length debut from Myhill is certainly distinctive and recommended.
★★★½ review by mick culleton on Letterboxd
A 16 yr old boy struggles to come of age with constantly being put down by his abusive step father, But when he meet a pretty foreign worker, Things will never be the same again , Indie Brit drama
★★★½ review by Starsk on Letterboxd
Very Ken Loach. Worth seeing just for the 'I Feel Love' scene. Certainly wasn't expecting Donna Summer to be heard in a down at heel cafe in the middle of the Norfolk countryside. Other than that hint of glamour, this is pretty gritty stuff. Impressive.
★★★½ review by JimmyDean on Letterboxd
Refreshing to see East Anglia depicted on screen, the rural landscape and distinct dialect give life to an accomplished debut that is simple, effective and stays within the confounds of its budget. Sean Harris is a highlight.
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