Parents' Guide to

Pond Life

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

British coming-of-age drama has strong language.

Movie NR 2021 100 minutes
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Adapted from a stage play, this British coming-of-age drama follows in the footsteps of the likes of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh in its depiction of "ordinary" people going about "ordinary" lives. Set in the summer of 1994 in a rundown town in northern England, there's nothing showy about director Bill Buckhurst's Pond Life. In fact quite the opposite. Sofas and broken televisions litter the housing estates where its central characters -- a group of tween and teens who are all dealing with their own issues -- all live. The result is that it feels as though you're getting a direct and uncensored look into these people's lives.

This is not only down to the way the film is shot, but also thanks to its young cast, whose performances are all realistic and believable. Special mention must go to Esme Creed-Miles (daughter of Samantha Morton and Charlie Creed-Miles), whose depiction of the kind, but troubled, Pogo is the standout. However, the movie's underplayed style may ultimately fail to capture a mainstream audience. Not much happens throughout the film's 100-minute runtime. There's no big action sequence and the nearest thing that comes to a twist or big reveal, while still attention grabbing, is done without fanfare. The '90s references may be lost on anyone born this side of the millennium, too. But for those who are already fans of films by Loach and Leigh, Pond Life is well worth seeking out.

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