Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Ozzy Myers, Edward Hogg, Brett Goldstein
Director: Rachel Tunnard
For a niche film like Adult Life Skills, there isn’t going to be a huge audience that’s begging for this movie to come out. Considering this movie first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and is now finally getting a streaming release, it means the people behind this movie were clearly passionate about getting it out to as many eyes as possible. For those who do manage to find their way and end up watching this movie, they’ll end up feeling good about their decision. A goofy, quirky movie with a strong lead performance by Whittaker make Adult Life Skills one of the hidden gems of on-demand streaming services.
The film follows Anna (Whitaker), a 29-year-old British woman who lives in a shed outside of her mother’s house and doesn’t appear to have a set direction in her life. When her mother tells her to move out by her 30th birthday and to get her life together, Anna has to figure out how to meet life’s demands while also keeping her naturally youthful spirit. If you’ve seen Whittaker in other projects (probably Dr. Who), you’ll know that she’s a very well-received actor in the United Kingdom and she is the main reason why the film is so successful. She has a natural charm and charisma that allows the plot to develop and moves the story along at the proper pace. The fact that Whittaker has so much strong material to work with aides her and provides her with the necessary support needed to take this plot from an average timekiller to something better than that. The one main criticism of this movie I’ve is that the plot is relatively generic when compared to films within the same genre. To a certain degree I agree with this criticism, but at the same time you have to look at this film’s intentions before judging its end result. In the case of Adult Life Skills, this movie makes it its job to entertain its audience and tell a funny story. I don’t believe this movie had the intention of telling some groundbreaking story to define the film industry for years to come, and as a result, it focuses more on its goals and is able to successfully accomplish them. The movie is funny, charming, and enjoyable for most of its 96 minute runtime. I agree that the generic elements are fare more frequent as the movie winds down, but it doesn’t take away from a well-establishing and entertaining first two acts. If you’re looking for a short, funny, small-budget British film, then realistically Adult Life Skills should be able to satisfy all your requirements. This film is not for everyone, and I’ll admit I had a tough time understanding some of the slang and pronunciations of words, but ultimately the film makes up for this by having a great time and showing us a cast with great chemistry and biting humor. We had to wait a long time for this film to reach mainstream audiences, and while I don’t know if it was worth a three-year wait, Adult Life Skills won’t disappoint.
Overall, Adult Life Skills does everything that a small-budget independent film should do and probably should have been recognized by wider audiences. I expect British viewers will enjoy a movie like this more than I did, but American viewers should still be able to have a good time with this movie. This goes to show you not just brush off some of the less known releases that come out at film festivals, because they may end up giving an unexpectedly good time and be completely worth the viewing.
Overall Score: 6.5/10