Film Review – Kids in Love
Kids in Love
Kids in Love treads the line between a video commercial for Anthropologie and the creeping anxiety of reality and adulthood that threaten to crash the funky, bohemian party of a group of London teens. Written by Sebastian De Souza and Preston Thompson, who also act in the film, the story is at once personal and slightly confessional, as if one’s more grownup self is looking back on the dramas of capricious youth with a smirk and shake of the head.
Jack (Will Poulter, who killed his scenes in 2015’s The Revenant against Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy) has recently graduated high school and is spending his gap year working to save money for a trip to South America with his best friend, Tom (Jamie Blackley) before they both go to university. Jack is a budding photographer who secretly longs to work for a magazine, but his parents are pushing a concentration in history and law, and even Tom regards it as a pipe dream. Tom’s sole focus is the trip, which he excitedly maps out as Jack sort of floats along, allowing decisions to be made for his life in all areas.
One day, Jack meets an ethereal French girl on the street who casually invites him to a pub. Suddenly, he is included in something that doesn’t involve Tom, and is a welcome respite from his parent’s push for an internship with a family friend’s law firm before college starts. Evelyn (Alma Jodorowsky) is beautiful and stylishly hip, and her equally fashionable friends are at once friendly and curious of the straightlaced, shy Jack. Soon, they invite him to the large house they all share, and his enchanted-cottage fantasy becomes more dreamlike and complicated.
Viola (Cara Delevingne) and Elena (Gala Gordon) lost their parents to a car crash and apparently inherited multiple houses, a Rolls Royce, and enough money to never have to work or attend university or be constrained by the banality of the real world. The attraction of their lifestyle of partying, dancing, and hanging out brings all kinds to their house, which is slowly morphing into a lair for Lost Boys with peeling wallpaper, amateurish art hanging on the wall, and cottony clouds suspended from a ceiling. Evelyn came to know them through a youth exchange, and dropped out of college without her parents’ knowledge to camp out in one of the bedrooms and sketch pictures she never intends to show anyone. Jack’s insecurities are spotted by the eclectic group, who make him a sort of asexual pet.
Though Evelyn is described as “liv(ing) in her own world,” all of the housemates exist in a sort of infinite now, where every day is an adventure. The lone male of the house, Cassius (Thompson), senses Jack’s crush on the mercurial Evelyn and immediately warns against it – advice which is never followed in these movies. To complicate matters, she has a self-centered and manipulative boyfriend, Milo (De Souza), who keeps her on a tight leash.
Director Chris Foggin portrays London as a bohemian wonderland that entrances Jack as if the wool were pulled from his eyes and suddenly everything was in color. On one hand, he begins to make his own choices, especially towards photography. Cassian gives Jack a fancy camera and he begins to hone his perspective on the world as he takes pictures of everyday events and people from a unique angle. Consequently, he neglects the ties to his real life, to the worry of his parents and anger of his best friend, who feels abandoned. The lure of paradise with beautiful, fun people who don’t have the concerns of bills, jobs, career paths, or future investments is too great to pass up, and Jack’s romantic nature causes him to dive in headfirst. Poulter is wonderful as the wide-eyed, if a bit naive Jack who is attracted to the carefree lifestyle, even as he can’t shake the nagging suspicion that he doesn’t quite belong there.
“Life is too short to do something you don’t like,” Evelyn tells him, and it is only a matter of time before the honeymoon begins to crumble and Jack sees how little she is adhering to her own advice. The other kids in the house aren’t given much development past good-natured, if immature benefactors of a continual string of parties. You have to assume that once their parents died, the two sisters created a cocoon of happiness which insulates them from grief or struggle, but leaves them in a state of suspended adolescence. Jack is the Peter Pan who chooses to leave Neverland, but on his own terms of how he wants his life to be.