Adult Life Skills
At some point in everyone’s life, whether it be after university, school, or further education, the conveyor belt that was happily guiding us through life comes to an end. The linear progression of education and exams fizzles, and off we slide, into the howling abyss that many like to call adult life. Writer director Rachel Tunnard is acutely aware of this fact and draws upon that anxiety and fear in her superb directorial debut, Adult Life Skills.
Exploring the idea that adults should be given badges for completing adult tasks (similar to the badges received for girl guides and scouts), Adult Life Skills follows Anna (Jodie Whitaker), a sad and confused 29-year-old living in a shed at the bottom of her mother’s garden. Anna clearly isn’t ready to be a grown-up yet, despite the looming threat of her 30th birthday, and instead prefers to make videos using her thumbs. In a shed. In her mother’s garden. The complexities of modern life seem all too much for Anna and, despite the best efforts of her mother, she refuses to grow up and get on with life, clinging to the last bastions of home comfort for as long as she possibly can.
The beauty of this narrative is that it is something the audience can immediately relate to. Everyone can remember the moment their parents stopped doing their laundry, and when coming downstairs at 11am on a Tuesday was met with a scowl of disapproval rather than a nice cup of tea and a painkiller. There’s a little of Anna in all of us, and as such the audience can easily understand her resistance to all things adult.
Fuelled by an excellent storyline that pulls the protagonist further and further out of her comfort zone, as well as a superb supporting cast, Adult Life Skills is funny, emotional and rewarding, but in no way overpowering. There is often a temptation to blast the audience with laughs or sadness, but Tunnard instead chooses to use each lightly, and it makes the film feel very real.
Adult Life Skills genius lies in its broad appeal. The audience empathises, despite the absurd situation in which Anna finds herself. With a simply stunning score, and with the prestigious Nora Ephron prize for best female director at the Tribeca film festival already under its belt, Adult Life Skills is a must-watch for those who feel that maybe they haven’t quite fully got the hang of this “adulting” thing just yet…
Adult Life Skills is released nationwide on the 24th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for Adult Life Skills here: