Scrapper (2023)

Scrapper (2023)

An expectedly sunny, funny film about childhood grief led by a charismatic young breakout

The Very Best



United Kingdom, United States of America
Comedy, Drama
Alin Uzun, Ambreen Razia, Asheq Akhtar
84 min


Fans of The Florida Project and Aftersun, this won’t disappoint you.

What it's about

When her mother dies, a 12-year-old girl (Lola Campbell) lies to the authorities in order to keep her house to herself — but the unexpected arrival of her estranged father (Harris Dickinson) upends everything.

The take

Be prepared to have the expectations you form after reading Scrapper’s synopsis shattered: though it is about a 12-year-old dealing with grief following her mother's death, it’s remarkably upbeat. It gets that quality by positioning itself in the buoyant headspace of young Georgie, a resilient, cheeky youngster who retains much of her whimsical childlike spirit in spite of her profound bereavement. Director Charlotte Regan’s debut feature is bursting with imagination: there are surreal stylized touches all over the movie, from talking video-game-style spiders to magical realist metaphors of Georgie's grief. 

That’s not to say that Scrapper is flippant about the inherent tragedy of its story, though. As in The Florida Project, you can feel the escapist motivations of Georgie's colorful imagination, which only deepens the poignancy of her situation and the precarious relationship she forms with her father, a barely-old-enough manchild who only makes an effort to meet Georgie after her mother’s death. Amidst all the intentional artificiality of the filmmaking, their largely improvised interactions never ring false — a dynamic that’s also crucial to making the movie feel genuinely touching and real rather than saccharine and shallow. A very impressive debut, and a much-deserved recipient of Sundance’s World Cinema Grand Jury prize and a whopping 14 nominations at the BIFAs.

What stands out

As much as Scrapper marks a clear breakout moment for its director, it’s also a brilliant showcase of Campbell, who was just 11 at the time of filming. She’s the heart and soul of the movie, lending it not just her natural comic timing and inspired improvisational abilities (alongside co-star Alin Uzun as Georgie’s best friend) but also the sense of authenticity needed to ground its more fantastical elements. Scrapper is a movie that’s absolutely inextricable from its central performance — remarkable, even before you consider that Campbell had never acted before.


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