3rd October 2019 6.30pm at Vue West End
5th October 2019 1.15pm at ICA Cinema
Eva Riley’s debut feature Perfect 10 hits its mark as it zooms in on a young girl and the half-brother barrelling his way into her life. The picture showcases Riley’s directorial ability and acts as a springboard for its leading lady, Frankie Box, to prove she’s a fabulous new force to be reckoned with.
The film is theoretically about a young girl, Leigh, and her gymnastics club, filled with the stereotypical mean girls hoping she will fall flat on her face. Millimetres below Leigh’s tough-girl exterior is an emotionally neglected teen living in the wake of her mother’s death. Out of the blue, Leigh’s half-brother Joe (Alfie Deegan) rocks up at her door and disrupts the already precarious family dynamic. Her killer floor routine falls further to the wayside.
Through fourteen-year-old Leigh’s eyes, we remember the allure of the first house party, and the hesitation and fascination of wanting to grow up fast and fit in with the big kids. Continual wide shots track Leigh’s observational gaze scanning the world around her. But Riley at the same time straddles the shallow shell of Joe’s own tough-boy act. Although entrenched in Leigh’s perspective, Perfect 10 displays Joe’s struggle, where upward mobility equates to the promotion from stealing petrol in the suburbs to hijacking cars in London.
Riley writes a complicated love letter to siblings, informed by the knowledge that no one will either understand your fractured relationship with your parents quite like them, nor stick their neck out for you in the same way. It’s not all brother-sister bliss for Leigh and Joe, though. Riley charts the transformation of the young girl who at first is unsure, half-hiding herself behind doors, into a younger sister confident in her ability to steal motorcycles. Despite its restrained structure – the timeline spans little more than five days – Perfect 10 encapsulates the moments of teenagehood that feel like a lifetime.
Riley wraps her characters’ histories delicately into the drama. She warms the heart just so she can break it again. Perfect 10 homes in on a tiny moment in a girl’s life but allows the sense of a bigger world to sprawl at its edges. Riley prods at the complexities of growing up and the collective pretence that when you do the world will seem any smaller.
Perfect 10 does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch a clip from Perfect 10 here: