out of Five
Running time: 108
Despite some rough edges and an occasionally preachy, issues-led script, this remains an engaging and likeable teen drama, thanks to lively direction, strong characters and superb performances from its young ensemble cast.
What's it all about?
Produced by Stonewall, Fit stars writer-director Rikki Beadle-Blair as Loris, an openly gay dance and drama teacher who starts a new job at a typical London secondary school. As his students bond through Loris's dance routines, it transpires that each of them is dealing with their own issues, whether it's sexuality, prejudice, bullying or good old-fashioned teenage heartache.
The film focuses on six students in particular: pretty Karmel (Sasha Frost) is a lesbian who doesn't conform to the usual stereotype, while ironically her straight, tomboyish best friend Lee (Lydia Toumazou) is bullied because of her looks; camp Tegs (Duncan MacInnes) is the victim of daily homophobic bullying and his relationship with Molly (Katie Borland) deeply confuses one of his tormentors (Stephen Hoo as Ryan), who has a secret crush on him. Meanwhile, secretly gay wannabe-footballer Jordan (Ludvig Bonin) decides to come out, and Ryan's violently homophobic cohort Isaac (Jay Brown) finds his world falling apart when he discovers the truth about his best friend.
The young cast is extremely good, creating likeable characters that feel realistic, even as the script strains to cover every available base. Hoo, Bonin and Brown are the stand-outs, largely because their stories are the most dramatic, though each of the main characters makes a strong impression. There's also colourful support from some of the background characters, most notably Davina Dewrance, who plays bubbly Darcy like a teenage Jessie Wallace.
The preachy script states its case loudly and often, but it does a good job of attempting to understand the bullies and it also has room for subtler moments, such as Jordan's younger brother realising that Jordan will never be a professional footballer if he's openly gay.
The film's biggest problem is that some of the stories feel unresolved - it's unclear what point the film is meant to be making with Tegs' storyline, for example. On top of that, there's also the occasional laughably awful line, such as “Awight? We're daaahn the BFI, innit?”
Whilst not quite 'Skins meets Glee', as promised by the publicity, this is still an enjoyable teen drama with lively direction, strong performances and an important message. Worth seeing.