Writer / director Charlotte Regan‘s “Scrapper” tries way too hard, often forcing eccentricity and a sense of whimsy where both really are unnecessary. Because of this, the film can feel frustrating and annoying. But at the center of the movie is a heartfelt father-daughter story that makes it easier to overlook many of the flaws, making her film one that audiences will likely enjoy.

Georgie (Lola Campbell) is a spunky 12-year-old who has been living on her own after the death of her mother. She’s a streetwise thief and hustler, using her resourceful wits to keep social services off her back (by claming to live with her uncle and using snippets of a man’s recorded voice if anyone comes calling) and running a racket with her friends that involves stealing and selling bicycles for rent money. Georgie is getting along just fine until an unexpected visitor shows up at her door. It’s her absent father Jason (Harris Dickinson), a man she’s never met. Faced with the threat of her comfortable life of truancy and independence coming to an end, Georgie and Jason engage in a power struggle that’s crowded with plenty of passive aggression.

It’s a conventional story of a dysfunctional relationship with a predictable and dull plot. Georgie and Jason both have a lot of growing up to do and in the process, may just discover that they not only can one day get along, but they may actually grow to like each other. It’s a story that’s been told before, but Regan gives her version an edgier sentiment by setting it within the environs of the British working class. The film is draggy but also sweet and crowd-pleasing, although the characters aren’t all that interesting.

By: Louisa Moore

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