I'm too lazy to chase up the quotes now, but I'm pretty sure either Twilight or True Blood (or both) have been described as being about the 'terrors of intimacy'. Compared to Submarine, they really really aren't! The title references a recurring metaphor for depression used in the film -- that of being underwater. In one sequence, ultrasound (heard by dogs but not by humans, which is significant for Jordana) is turned into a symbol for communication between people, and the fact that we can never completely understand others. The link made is that depression is caused by excessive solipsism. Further, that openness to your fellow woman and man, no matter how scary and painful their situation, is the only route that leads away from suicide.

This is a clever, quirky and funny film, beautifully acted, almost note-perfect. Almost. I have my own quirks about this sort of thing, but the final scene didn't entirely work for me. At first I thought it was due to the fact that the rapprochement was indicated through a visual metaphor (Oliver following Jordana into the sea, but remaining above it). If the film's point was communication, then using symbols rather than words (which is what Oliver's mother used, in a hilariously blunt way) undermined it somewhat. But no, that's just stupid (words ARE symbols and all that...). After a bit of thought, I realised that my problem was much simpler. It's Youth In Revolt again: Oliver shouldn't earn forgiveness just by walking into the sea, and Jordana shouldn't start to trust him because he gets his feet wet. Oliver's hopeful expression, and Jordana's smiles, arrived too early. I could have done without.  Sure, the film remains ambiguous about their future, but I would have liked more ambiguity. Dudes shouldn't be given a gentle ride when they fuck up.

But as I said,  I have my own quirks about this sort of thing. It's a testament to the film's uncompromising attitude that it could well have ended with Oliver alone on the beach, fade to black, premonitions of death, and I half-expected (maybe wanted) it to. But the final image of Oliver, Jordana and her dog is too potent to discard. Still, less hope, fewer smiles. Communication isn't easy. Learning to do it takes longer than one film's running time.

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