Why “Ratcatcher” is the greatest coming-of-age movie

The beauty and flaws of the coming-of-age subgenre is that your own teenage transition is so different from the ones sitting next to you. While Richard Linklater and John Hughes’ western cinema films like to celebrate all his whimsical joys in films like Childhood and The breakfast club, the reality is that, for many, childhood is just a tumultuous journey. Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s debut feature, Rat Hunter, illustrates this opposite reality, presenting a story of adolescent apprehension, fear and terror.

Set in Glasgow in the 1970s, the landscape that Ramsay orchestrates is bleak, reflecting the realities of those who live in the Scottish city who have often had to survive without running water or proper bathing facilities. It’s a run down city, hampered by a recent trash strike that results in multiple trash bags littered through alleys and street corners acting as a visual reminder of impending locations of invisibility.

As the world around him crumbles, we follow the daily life of James (William Eadie) who witnesses his friend’s accidental death at the very beginning of the film and struggles with his conscience throughout the film. Subtle and dreamlike, Rat hunter is a slow and poetic journey through the grieving experience of a protagonist who cannot yet bear the weight. It is a contemplative study which dissects the solemnity of youth with cold precision.

Rat hunter However, it does not exist in a void of darkness, for Ramsay does well to highlight life’s bright moments, even despite those harsh realities. Communicating James’s grief through astonishing and mind-blowing camera work and uses of magical realism, Ramsay contextualizes his story into a story that can be universally understood, even by those whose realities differ greatly from those of the protagonists.

Even in the dark, there is hope, and as James searches for new life after such trauma, he finds it in a nearby town. Freeing himself from his circumstantial social constraints, he goes to a nearby housing program which is still under construction. Here he frolics into the potential of such a reality, leaving the mess of his neighborhood behind to curiously explore a new playground, with stunning bathrooms sealed in shrink paper and fields of golden crops showing a horizon. heavenly. In a film that so easily mixes hope with fantasy and the harsh truth of reality, it’s hard to tell if such a sequence is even being told in truth, or rather translated through James’ eyes.

Jumping through a large open window frame into a golden field of succulents, James embraces the present despite the reality he finds at home. In search of an escape as his own community merges into the muddy banks of the dark water of Glasgow, James builds a mental escapade, a new world of hope, peace and escape where he hopes to find himself again. one day.

As the best of the coming-of-age genre including The 400 blows and The last picture show, it is not only an interpretation of how children come to define themselves, but it is also a reminder of the constant need to assess one’s own development, even in adulthood. The people of Ratcatcher The slowly sinking Scottish community is in search of new life, although it also longs for hope and faith that such a change will someday happen.

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About Bernice D. Brewer

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