Childhood is meant to be a special time. One of excitement, adventure and discovery. A period of personal and physical growth through learning and play, but also a chance to experiment and experience a range of new and exciting things. This requires an implicit trust in our parent(s) or guardian(s) to take care of the important stuff, while we get on with trying to have fun. When this safeguard is removed, children can face a steep learning curve and suddenly be propelled into a position of responsibility. This is the case in Sarah Gavron’s new film Rocks.
Rocks (Bukky Bakray) is your average teenager, with all the anxieties and worries of someone who is approaching an uncertain adulthood. However, when her mum disappears again, Rocks is forced to step into her shoes, taking care of her younger brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu) whilst finding a way to get hold of some money. As she struggles to keep their circumstances secret and the family together, her situation becomes increasingly desperate.
Rocks is a beautifully observed coming-of-age drama which manages to capture the excitement and vibrancy of youth whilst navigating the difficulties of young relationships. Gavron’s greatest achievement is managing to portray a well-travelled story in a way which feels both refreshingly authentic and captures the excitement of those teenage years. It’s also fantastic to see such a diverse cast in a story which isn’t focused on this diversity. Rocks is a breath of fresh air in British film-making.
Rocks is released in UK and Irish cinemas by Altitude on 18 September.