REVIEW: Drunken Butterflies

Directed by: Garry Sykes
Starring: Leanne Rutter, Yasmine Ati, Amanda Hodgson, Katie Quinn
Run Time: 89 mins, Cert: 18

Drunken Butterflies is a coming of age drama and is the first feature film from director Garry Sykes . The film is about two friend groups who fall out with each other after Chloe (Rutter) cheats on her boyfriend, who happens to be her best friend Tracy’s  (Ati) brother. Chloe  and her two sidekicks Isla (Hodgson) and Nicky (Quinn) go on a warpath against Tracy’s sidekicks Sarah (Lucy-Jayne Kelly) and Becca (Kate Knight) as the film leads up to a disastrous climax.

The film is part full-on drama, part scripted reality TV and part documentary;  it really is a mixed batch! I personally have never seen a film do this. You can definitely differentiate which parts are which; for example, when Chloe, Isla and Nicky are in a bedroom talking, you can tell that they are talking naturally which is really refreshing. I like how the director has used vox pops of the general public in Newcastle and their opinion on the city and really brings a sense of realism to the film in the sense that you believe the main story is real.

I have read that a lot of people have criticized the film for being sexist and too female centered. Yes, it centers on female characters but I fail to understand how it can be deemed as sexist. The film portrays characters that do actually exist and , living in the North East , I’ve seen them. There are so many films that center on a group of females (Harmony  Korine’s Spring Breakers, for example). I don’t think it is portraying females badly, it is simply showing the struggles that some working-class teenagers have.

The film, however, portrays the city of Newcastle very negatively. Ironically, despite the city being so beautiful and cultured, no one says anything nice about it. That being said, I think that this is what Sykes had intended. To me, the film is a satire of scripted reality shows such as The Valleys  and Geordie Shore, which also portrays Newcastle negatively to those who haven’t discovered its true culture.

I would like to mention that this film is an 18 and does contain a hefty amount of bad language and violence but it all works nicely in the film and is perfectly suited to the older end of the teenager spectrum.

I think Sykes did a great job on his first feature film and, apart from a few of the interviews taking away from the main story which didn’t always work for me, I think the film is a good watch. It has a modern feel to it and if you like realistic yet gritty dramas such as This is England, I have a sneaky suspicion you may like this.

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