An aspiring teen gymnast’s world is turned upside down with the arrival of the half-brother she never knew she had.
It’s been a good week for coming of age dramas and after watching ‘Young Ahmed’ and ‘Make Up’, ‘Perfect 10’ was the latest entry on my list to check out. ‘Perfect 10’ is the story of aspiring gymnast Leigh (played by impressive newcomer Frankie Box), a teenage girl living in relative poverty and suffering from a lack of friends or family, with her gymnastics teacher (Sharlene Whyte) the only role model in her life. It’s hinted that her mother has passed away and her father is a distant presence, so when her half-brother Joe (Alfie Deegan) turns up, she immediately latches on to him and they start to form a bond.
This is a very sweet film anchored by Frankie Box’s vulnerable performance and I thought it was a film that grew in stature the longer it went on before finishing with a finely judged conclusion. When we first meet Leigh, gymnastics is her one and only passion and she’s clearly talented, as shown by her teacher’s interest in her and the mean jibes from the other girls in the class, but that only offers a break from her life a few times a week. Joe is a little bit older, more confident and has a group of ‘friends’ who he carries out some petty crime for, and Leigh is attracted to the money and the attention this status brings and she gradually inserts herself into more of Joe’s schemes. Director Eva Riley does a good job of showing the attraction of this to Leigh, whilst also colouring everything with an air of tension where we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to go awry.
‘Perfect 10’ is an authentic story about the challenges of growing up, particularly when nobody’s around to pay you any attention, and I felt it was compellingly told with a good lead performance from Frankie Box. At only 80 minutes long, it’s well worth some of your time.
Directed By: Eva Riley
Starring: Frankie Box, Alfie Deegan, Sharlene Whyte, William Ash and Nicola Wright