Gymnastics, an unknown half-brother and a streak of petty crime set in motion a teenage girl’s coming-of-age in suburban Brighton in Eva Riley’s sensitive, spirited first feature film.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
The debut feature from Scottish writer/director Eva Riley, Perfect 10 is set in Brighton. But don’t expect fun at the pier: this is the outskirts. Following in the strong tradition of British social realism, the film is about Leigh, an aspiring teen gymnast who is up against it. As if the nasty bullies on her squad aren’t enough to deal with, Leigh is lonely and struggling to cope with a complicated home life. The fraught family dynamic is further destabilised by the arrival of a half-brother, Joe. Leigh didn’t know he even existed and soon he and his even older mates are partying in the lounge.
Haunted by absence, and driven by an unruly longing to belong, newcomer Frankie Box compels as Leigh. The camera stays close to her youthful, increasingly reckless, energy. Joe is involved in petty crime and she starts to tag along. Brother and sister’s growing sense of kinship is underpinned by something volatile and dangerous, much like the motorbikes they start to steal. Leigh is bound to fall (and does) but this is a narrative that takes some unexpected, affirming turns. Life might not be perfect, but Leigh gains confidence and balance and sticks the landing.
About the Filmmaker
Eva Riley is a Scottish director and screenwriter, based in Brighton. She graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2015, with her final year film Patriot premiering in competition at Cannes. Her short films have screened at festivals including London, Edinburgh and Telluride.