Kids in Love
From its mock-handwriting title font to its upbeat indie music accompanying a montage of trendy London hangouts, the opening of Kids in Love makes no bones about its narrow world view. It is a film that follows a group of privileged young suburbanites, or “free spirits”, and photographs their trips to cool nightclubs and festivals through an intoxicated Instagram filter. It views its characters with an uncritical gaze – never daring to question their financial entitlement – as if blinded by the charms of their bohemia.
Yet, for some reason, it is not quite as irritating as it could have been. Part of this may be that our lead character, Jack, is played by Will Poulter, one of the best young actors to come out of Britain in years. Jack is a teenager on his gap year, saving up to go to South America with his sexist best friend. A chance meeting with the beautiful and French Evelyn (Alma Jodorowsky) changes everything, however, as he falls head-over-heels in love with this Manic Pixie Dream Girl and her Manic Pixie Dream friends.
Played by Cara Delevingne, Gala Gordon and Preston Thompson, they live in a huge house together with Evelyn that is decked out with all manner of “quirky” décor. It is vaguely explained that Delevingne inherited the house from her parents, but quite how they can afford both this prime London real estate and another house in the country remains unexplained. They spend their time painting their faces, drinking, dancing, and referring to each other by irritating nicknames, like “dog” and “sister”. Still, Jack becomes enchanted with their lifestyle, forgetting his internship and education in return for taking up photography – exclusively with film, of course.
Is a film that blindly conforms to stereotypes necessarily a bad film? Of course not. Umberto Eco once wrote that while lone clichés are ridiculous, a collection of them are rewarding, “for we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, and celebrating a reunion.” Kids in Love is certainly full of celebration – there’s a party in a field that could easily double for a Levi’s commercial – but what’s lacking is self-awareness. Too readily it buys into exaggerations about the joys of youth that, in spite of Poulter’s best efforts, ceases to have much relevance to the real world – so drunk is it on its own fumes.
Kids in Love is released in selected cinemas on 26th August 2016.
Watch the trailer for Kids in Love here: