Set in Hackney but far from hackneyed, Rocks stars Bukky Bakray as a British-Nigerian teenager whose mother makes like a rock and splits.
This British drama is pitched somewhere between American indie The Florida Project and French drama Girlhood, transposing to London the latter’s celebration of sisterhood and friendship in the face of harsh social realities. Joyous scenes of singing and dancing keep Rocks afloat while tackling tough topics and embracing the emotional rockiness of real life.
Director Sarah Gavron rocks the opposite approach to the slightly dry academia of Suffragette, putting front and centre the warm, likeable characters developed in collaboration with the largely non-professional cast. This gives the picture an authentic, organic composure, with naturalistic, overlapping dialogue lending the film a vibrant texture.
The approach also yields wonderfully natural performances, particularly from Bakray as the title character, Kosar Ali as her loveable best friend and D’angelou Osei Kissiedu as her funny little brother. Together they paint a sensitive portrait of contemporary London and the British immigrant experience, ensuring that Rocks will break you.