It’s hard to watch Kids in Love and not want to punch nearly every single character in it in the face. Chris Foggin’s debut picture is teen wish fulfilment at its worst and has about as much depth as a puddle after a brief spring shower.
Which is a damn shame, because in Will Poulter they have an incredibly likeable lead actor. His character Jack is also going through some issues that a lot of kids that age face. Am I doing what I want to do with my life? Is university for me? Unfortunately, Kids in Love solves these problems by having him meet a group of pretentious arseholes of the likes who declare that if you want to be a photographer you could never be on digital, baby.
Which is where the aforementioned punching in the face comes into place. Led up by Alma Jodorowsky’s Evelyn, this group languishes around a townhouse in London (which even in its run-down state must be worth millions) drinking, smoking and doing whatever else they fancy. Jack, of course, falls head over heels for Evelyn despite the fact that she is given all the personality of a brick. Seriously, Alma Jodorowsky isn’t bad, but her character might as well be a painting for all the depth it is given. She is there to look pretty and not much else.
Although Jack probably isn’t bothered by her lack of personality because he is little more than a cypher himself. As I mentioned, Poulter is a likeable guy and a brilliant actor, but Jack is just a tosser. You can relate to his feeling of being lost but his way of going about acting that out – ditching his best friend a few months before a once a lifetime trip and screaming at his parents about how they don’t understand him – doesn’t help his case. It makes it utterly baffling that this gorgeous group he falls in with find him so incredibly brilliant. Either they are having some deep conversations off camera, or they are all as shallow as each other.
On the upside, Preston Thompson provides a few laugh as the constantly horny Cassius. He seems to be the only person aware of how ridiculous this whole thing is. I also continue to find Cara Delevingne a charismatic on-screen presence. However, don’t be fooled by the advertising which places her front and centre. This was filmed in 2013, and her star has risen since but she is little more than a supporting cast member in the actual film. The aforementioned luxurious townhouse also looks incredible. It’s the kind of set that you want to be let loose on to run around and explore.
None of that is enough to save Kids in Love from what it is. A shallow and ultimately unsatisfying film. To get a bit personal for a second, I adore coming of age movies. It does not take much to have me get on side with one and even if you breeze past ticking all the boxes, I will probably enjoy myself. Yet, I never once fell for Kids in Love charms. I was left cold by a story that was so thoroughly stuffed with unlikable people that it was all I could do not to bang my head on the seat in front of me with frustration. I was many things by the end but in love was not one of them.