Ironically, today marks my first day as the father of a teen, and already the drama has begun. Adolescence is that time when we figure out our place in our small world and figure out how to make adult decisions in the areas of love, friendship, and loyalty without the meddling of those pesky adults. In the teen melodrama, Sticky Toffee Pudding, the story of youth is told entirely by first-time university student filmmakers.
I’ll start by saying that there’s a lot of plot in Sticky Toffee Pudding, and it might be better served as an episodic series versus a feature film. The primary story follows the 17-year-old Shelby (Samuel Nicholls), who returns to school after the death of his best friend Eppie, who appears through the film as a ghostly memory in Shelby’s mind as carries her diary everywhere.
“…returns to school after the death of his best friend Eppie, who appears through the film as a ghostly memory in [his] mind…”
While the film is promoted as Shelby’s journey through grief, the overall movie has a “brat pack” feel to it. Shelby gains new friends as he joins the popular group (which Eppie was once part). These friends include Moses (Charlie Howard), who is in a secret relationship with Margot (Genevieve Lewis). There’s also Charles (Callum Henderson), Roisin (Sophie Mae), Lilibet (Emily-Kate Barry), and on the periphery, Ariel (Samuel G. Caple), who supplies the gang with their party drugs.
Lilibet takes a particular liking to Shelby. The two often go off together alone to talk and reminisce about Eppie. They become fast friends after a game of bowl smashing (apparently it’s a thing). Shelby finds himself attracted to Lilibet but also holding tight to the memory of Eppie.
The second act shifts to the other characters. Charles buys drugs from Ariel using a nude photo of Moses as payment. Ariel appears to have a crush on Moses. Moses, on the other hand, has a major crush on Margot, but Margot insists on keeping mum and holding off on any physicality until she’s sure she is ready. Charles is the toxic male of the group. Though he’s interested in Roisin, she is a defender of Ariel, who is a constant target of Charles’ homophobic bullying. His supply of drugs keeps Ariel in good favor with the group.
"…reeks of hard work and dedication across the board."