Submarine: Plunge into the teenage deep

Genre: Coming-of-Age, Book-to-Film
Director: Richard Ayoade
Year: 2010

The film runs as the biopic of the protagonist, Oliver Tate, taking on his daydream of what if his life is a movie. From here, the film picks up with how Oliver juggles to be the best boyfriend while saving his parents’ marriage. And to do the latter, he goes into the extent of stalking, forging suggestive love letters, house crashing, and monitoring his mom’s affair.

Though I’m old from a sense of a teen, I still like these coming-of-age films that deal with identity, internal conflict, estrangement, heaps of monologue, and even young love with its sappy raw lines. Submarine has the same upbeat self-conscious vibe I felt with Perks of Being a Wallflower.

There are so many things I like about Submarine. I like the meanness of Jordana. I like the abstraction of Oliver. I like how Jordana is emotionally guarded. I like how Oliver gives a damn about family. I like Mr. Tates and his “awknerdness.” I like the acid-like rainbow and Jordana’s red coat. I like the placidity of the soundtrack, especially Stuck on the Puzzle. I like how Oliver and Jordana are both misunderstood. And I like how Oliver is a romantic chap.

“I took a photo of us, mid-embrace. When I am old and alone I will remember that I once held something truly beautiful.”

If you’re wondering why the film is called Submarine, my husband and I collated these plot-based reasons:

No.1  It’s because Oliver is contemplative; and just like a submarine, he submerges deep into his thoughts.

No.2  It’s a metaphor of how Oliver felt in the deep when he was overwhelmed by the problems around him.

No.3  It’s an allegory of how Oliver believes we are all estranged from one another. Because no matter how much effort we give to understand what others think or feel, what’s going on inside them always remains a mystery. And in this way, we are all submarines that are submerged and alienated from everyone else.

— But seriously, it could be one, or none, or all.

Honestly, Submarine is quite deep. But it is deep without being a mindfuck sort of The Fountain. And aside from the fixated, occasionally morbid, and queer reasoning of the film, Submarine has practically widened my vocabulary. (I’ll remember: 1. flagitious, 2. atavistic, and 3. osculate.)

It’s been a while since I jotted words so I could look up their meanings for knowledge’s sake. With this fact alone, the film made me happy and perhaps a little bit wiser. 😉

“I love you more than words. And I am a big fan of words.”


  1. As I was reading the first few lines of your review, I felt perks of being a wallflower, looking for alaska and all those coming of age stories. most of the time, i feel tool old to watch films featuring teenagers… only to realize that the story is deep, moving and sometimes, disturbing pa 🙂

    galing ng analysis sa movie title na husband-wife team up pa 🙂


~ Chime in! ♫

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s