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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Movie Review - “The Pebble and the Boy” (2021)

A Young Man Searches for the Truth About His Father’s Mod Lifestyle

by Joseph Perry

Filled with music from Paul Weller and his pre-solo bands The Jam and Style Council, as well as the likes of The Chords and Secret Affairs, The Pebble and the Boy (U.K., 2021) is a coming-of-age/road trip drama that looks at how members of both sides of the mods vs. rockers years in the 1980s United Kingdom have aged, focusing especially on the “once a mod, always a mod” side of the coin, and how the music and fashion from those years lives on today.

John Parker (Patrick McNamee) is mourning the recent loss of his father Phil, the latter of whom was a mod in the eighties. John decides to ride his father’s scooter from Manchester to Brighton to scatter Phil’s ashes, much to the dismay of John’s mother. 
Along the way he meets the brash, outgoing Nicki (Sacha Parkinson), the daughter of one of Phil’s mod buddies, who pushes John to make the trip when he was ready to just head back home. The pair gets into adventures, misadventures, and assorted uncomfortable situations as they try to overcome obstacles along the way.
John is not an easy protagonist to get behind, as he is often sullen, uncommunicative, quick to anger, and ready to quit his quest at the slightest inconvenience. This led to more frustration than character investment on my part, but thankfully Nicki is there to give things a spark. McNamee portrays the moody brooder well, and Parkinson is terrific as his strong-willed sidekick. A welcome cameo from 1980s “it girl” Patsy Kensit — who became an instant crush of mine with her appearance in Absolute Beginners (1986) and as the lead singer of the band Eighth Wonder, but is more well known in the States for her role in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) — leads the way with a cast of fine supporting actors.
Writer/director Chris Green balances the nostalgia for a 1980s subculture with a modern setting well, though yearning for glory days is definitely on display. There’s more drama than comedy, and some elements are left to an “Oh, well, what are you going to do?” quasi-resolution. Overall, The Pebble and the Boy doesn’t offer a lot of surprises in its episodic storytelling, though it does provide a few interesting twists. Viewers who were in their teens or early twenties in the 1980s should find the film a pleasant diversion.

The Pebble and the Boy, from Lightbulb Film Distribution, will be available on digital in the U.S. and Canada from November 16, 2021.

The Pebble and the Boy
Directed by: Chris Green
Written by: Chris Green
Produced by: NOW Films
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Starring: Jesse Birdsall, Sacha Parkinson, Patsy Kensit
Runtime: 1 hour 41 minutes
Rated: NR
Release Date: U.K.: August 27, 2021; U.S./Canada: November 16, 2021

Joseph Perry is one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast. He also writes for When It Was Cool (whenitwascool.com), the film websites Diabolique Magazine (diaboliquemagazine.com), Gruesome Magazine (gruesomemagazine.com), The Scariest Things (scariesthings.com), and Horror Fuel (horrorfuel.com), and film magazines Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope (videoscopemag.com) and Drive-In Asylum (etsy.com/shop/GroovyDoom)

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