Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Menhaj Huda|
|Produced by||Menhaj Huda
|Written by||Noel Clarke|
|Music by||The Angel|
|Edited by||Victoria Boydell|
|Distributed by||Revolver Entertainment|
Kidulthood (rendered as KiDULTHOOD) is a 2006 British drama film about the life of several teenagers in Ladbroke Grove and Latimer Road area of inner west London. It was directed by Menhaj Huda and written by Noel Clarke, who also stars in the film and directed the sequel Adulthood. The majority of the characters in the film generally behave in a violent and lawless manner. They are portrayed as being reckless and antisocial young people who commit crimes such as petty theft and serious violence. The film also showcases how the characters engage in recreational drug taking and some sexual behaviour.
Set in 2002, the film follows two days in the lives of a group of 15-year-olds from a mixed-income area of West London. The story focuses mainly upon the antihero Trevor, known as "Trife" (Aml Ameen), and Alisa (Red Madrell), his sometime partner. One of the themes of the movie is Alisa's pregnancy. She states that Trife is the father. Trife is most displeased with these developments and he makes it known through absconding from typical fatherly duties to his young flame.
School bully, Sam Peel (Noel Clarke), is portrayed as the antagonist in the film. Student Katie (Rebecca Martin), is being physically and emotionally bullied by a group of girls led by Shaneek (Stephanie Di Rubbo), and Sam also acts menacingly towards her, making some assaulting gesticulations. Her parents do not know the extent of this bullying. After being picked up from school, a distraught Katie flees to her bedroom, writes a note, and hangs herself. The students are then given a day off for mourning, but instead prepare for jubilations. Trevor and his best school acquaintances: Jay (Adam Deacon), and Moony (Femi Oyeniran) spend the day pilfering, trying to talk to women and advance upon them in a sexual manner, drinking alcohol in an alcoholic fashion, and smoking cannabis. Alisa and her friend Becky (Jaime Winstone) decide to get drunk and high before the party, despite Alisa's pregnancy. Alisa has recently discovered that she is pregnant and she is unsure as to how to cope with the news. Becky takes Alisa to an older man's house where they perform sexual acts in return for drugs. Becky is the instigator and Alisa feels that she has to follow her friend's actions. Meanwhile, the boys trick their way into Sam's house in order to retrieve a Game Boy he had stolen earlier, they then proceed to steal Sam's cannabis and Jay has sex with Sam's girlfriend, Claire (Madeleine Fairley). When Sam returns and threatens them, the boys hit him with a keyboard, overpower him, attack him, and escape along with Claire. In the process, they knock Sam's mother to the floor, which is later used as a pretext for revenge by Sam.
During a train ride, Alisa and Becky run into some of the girls who bullied Katie. Alisa feels bad about not helping her while she was being abused, scolds the girls and runs out with Becky to throw up. She ultimately resolves to keep the baby. They then arrive at a shopping centre, having sold their drugs to buy new dresses. They meet up with Moony and Jay; Jay tells Alisa that Trevor doesn't want her or the baby, and that she should get out of Trevor's life, this could well be an ironic gesture to Trife's absconding from his fatherly duties unto her. Alisa decides to return home alone as Becky wants to stay with the boys. In the meantime, Trevor has gone to meet up with his Uncle Curtis (Cornell John). He sees Katie's brother, Lenny (Rafe Spall) at Curtis's house, but they do not speak. Trevor tells Curtis that he wants to work for him, and is then issued with a revolver, which Trevor had previously made by drilling the barrel of a starting pistol on a pillar drill at school. Trevor is then taken downstairs to a tied up man, Andreas, who is being tortured for failing to stick to an agreement about payment. Andreas is earlier seen purchasing drugs from Curtis. Curtis orders Trevor to cut the man's face with a Stanley knife. Trevor carries out the order, but then flees from the house. Traumatised, he throws the gun into the river and goes to find Alisa. Alisa is on her way home when she sees a classmate, who persuades her to come to a party with him to cheer her up.
Trevor arrives at the party, finds Alisa, and confesses he loves her. Alisa tells him that she never slept with Sam, and that the baby definitely belongs to Trevor. Sam later arrives at the party and beats Trevor up with a baseball bat. Alisa runs into the house to get Mooney and Jay. In the ensuing fight Trevor attacks Sam when he tries to hurt Alisa and beats him to the ground, but Alisa tells him to stop. As he is leaving Sam picks up the bat and hits Trevor, who falls to the ground, critically injured. Katie's older brother arrives, carrying a gun and asking for Sam. He is about to execute Sam but stops momentarily and asks for a reason why he shouldn't kill him. Trevor uses his last breaths to shout "because he isn't worth it". Lenny begins to walk away but Sam insults him so he turns and fires, but the gun explodes in his hand. He gets back into his car and drives away. Trevor dies before the ambulance and police arrive.
- Aml Ameen as Trevor
- Red Madrell as Alisa
- Adam Deacon as Jay
- Noel Clarke as Sam
- Jaime Winstone as Becky
- Femi Oyeniran as Moony
- Madeleine Fairley as Claire
- Cornell John as Curtis
- Rafe Spall as Lenny
- Nicholas Hoult as Blake
- Rebecca Martin as Katie
- James Witherspoon as Kilpo
- Ortis Deley as Derek
- Stephanie Di Rubbo as Shaneek
- Kate Magowan as Stella
London hip-hop group Arkane wrote the title track for the film. The film was principally shot in the actual areas in which it is set around London W11; for example, some of the school scenes are shot in Twyford CE High School in Acton, similarly Alisa and Becky's journey on the London Underground is between Ladbroke Grove and Royal Oak stations.
Kidulthood has received a generally positive critical response. Writing in The Guardian, Miranda Sawyer called the film "a rollicking UK youth ride, cinematically filmed, persuasively acted and bumped along by a fantastic all-British soundtrack... It's also very funny, laced with a humour of the slapped-in-the-face-with-a-kipper sort: you can't help laughing because it's so outrageous". Stephen Armstrong in The Times, however, said "the only people who should be shocked by this film are people who have never been teenagers. What Kidulthood does is take all the violence, sex and intoxication experienced in a teenage year and condense it into a single day, because that's far more marketable than a film about eight kids spending four hours sitting on the swings wondering what to do". The Daily Mirror described it as being "as potent as a shot of vodka before breakfast – a harrowing, uncompromisingly bleak but thoughtful look at the anguish of being young and poor in Britain".
- Shoard, Catherine (19 March 2006). "The real Notting Hill". Telegraph.co.uk.
- The film that speaks to Britain's youth in words they understand, The Guardian, 26 February 2006
- Who are they trying to kid?, The Times, 5 March 2006 (retrieved November 2014)
- Review, The Daily Mirror, 3 March 2006