Day Two: Submarine (2010) (March of the Movies 2023)

Many times over the years I’ve made it known on this blog that I’m fond of romance. In short, I find the bonding between two people mesmerizing. Even as a child, something about being able to give your entire being to another just for the sake of closeness has appealed to me. Despite my current age closing in on the third decade, this hasn’t dissipated. If anything, the feeling has grown in intensity.

Submarine is a film I stumbled upon randomly while browsing the Letterboxd platform. For years, it was not available on streaming platforms I currently own. Looking at potential films for this year, I checked again for the hell of it, only to find that it popped its head out of the water. My target was set.

Copy-Paste Synopsis

15-year-old deep-thinking Welsh schoolboy, Oliver Tate struggles to initiate and maintain a relationship with Jordana, his devilish, dark-haired classmate at their Swansea high school. As his parents’ marriage begins to fall apart, similar problems arise in his relationship with Jordana.


Actual Review

This will be another short-ish review. My thoughts are pretty condensed post-viewing, and more than anything a feeling of disappointment lingers.

From a structural standpoint, this isn’t all that removed from the general clichés of a coming of age rom-com mish-mash. Looking from a very general standpoint, this ended almost exactly as I Want You Back did. What makes this stand out more than anything comes from the writing, which provides a beneficial boost of laughter to an otherwise meandering trek.

To its credit, much of the dialogue was rather entertaining. Even more than the scarily meticulous detail the lead character would put into his “routine observations.” A certain subgenre of lesser-known films dealing with the throes of young love often coincide with an energy often described as “quirkiness.” Submarine is certainly well within the deep end of “quirky” material.

Ain’t he such a character?

I can agree with some quirkiness. Oftentimes the “quirks” of a film end up being the highlights, particularly with characters or the plot. Yet the struggle is in bringing a good balance between serious earnestness and a style of awkwardness for comedic purposes. This film errs on the side of overly quirky.

Such makes it harder for me to deeply care about the plight of this incredibly obnoxious character. Though it is intentional, his terrifying personality is often at odds with the more tender moments of human connection. The scene where he sits at the table with his father, as both shirk off promises made to their female partners, and speaks with him lightly about what it feels like to be “down in the dumps” was among my favorite scenes. It wasn’t even romantic or funny. It was genuine.

Hence why I felt this was a slightly disappointing watch. Perhaps reviews overinflated just how poetically romantic it is, I had some subtle expectations of something more… cheesy? Instead, it went more for cheeky. Good romance overrides good comedy within my personal preferences.

Admittedly, this was pretty cheesy in hindsight.

Nevertheless, what it strived to be was mostly successful. Funny? More so than most I’ve viewed, yes, particularly for the genre. Parallel lines drawn from the relationships of both the main character and his girlfriend and the main character’s parents allowed one to pay close attention to details within lines of dialogue and facial cues. Certainly not a brainless film; my one complaint is that it loses its appeal to the heart with the direction it decided to go in.


Simply all right. As good a comedy as one can get from the romcom pile, though I find the romance dulls as things continue to develop. Perfect for those who wish to consume young people being delirious and unpredictable, only to find that what drove them to be was love in some form or another.

Probably the most damning quality was this: I watched half of this with my mother, and her reaction to the absurdities occurring onscreen ended up funnier than the film itself.

Final Score: 6/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

If reading this compelled you to give me a dollar, feel free to tip me on Ko-fi.

Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.

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