Anyone passionate about home grown British films; cheering to 'This is England' and 'Trainspotting'; will be ecstatic for Sarah Gavron's modern cultural tale in London. This heart warming story follows a teenage girl (Bukky Bakray), immersed within an East London estate, suddenly faced with parenthood one breakfast morning after her mother runs away. It has everything you need to debate the circling issues about our overflowing city; poverty, discrimination, cross cultures, and mental health.
The powerful dynamic on screen between these young actresses is breathtaking. From the opening discussions about fried chicken on rooftops, to their first trip out of London towards the end, the circle of love and innocence is remarkable. There is a simplistic tone throughout from Director Sarah which matches the girls youthful attitude towards life, and their families struggle within society.
The camera's view is seen through a teenagers eyes for the film, shadowing the horrors of the real world. As you start to understand Rock's troubles and the concerning storyline, the girls hilarious chats contracts the misery with their silliness towards adult situations. Your thoughts are shaken with the fact the girls should be dancing along to Tik-Tok's at their age instead of making money for dinner. The standing ovation for the title goes to the truthful representation of cultures depicted within the school. The scenes flourish in reflecting African and Muslim traditions, by dressing Rock's (Bukky Bakray) in a Hijab at Sumaya's (Kosar Ali) home, showcasing some of the best child casting witnessed in years.
The most sincere and warming scenes come from Rock's and her younger brother Emmanuel (D'angelou Osei Kissiedu) as they try to hide their living situation from child services. The two characters sheer determination to stay together is distressing to follow as a huge weight is felt for the protagonist bearing this much responsibility as a child herself.
It's hard to criticise such a wonderful explorative movie. However, the director could have provided a clearer outlook of adult life making the movie more engaging; for instance scenes depicting the mothers lives and how they interact with their children. Experiencing surrounding relationship's would have compared Rock's own connection with her mother to others in the group.
If there is anything we should take away from this painful tale it's the underlying importance a community spirit can bring to young girls lives. Balancing on each others shoulders, no matter where they come from or where they are going, these moments of friendship is what everyone has to hold onto. Isn't it time we appreciate what we have around us and bounce off our thriving communities? 'Rocks' is a sublime reflection of the growing worldwide cultures seen in our younger generations joining together to bridge a future for East London