We all know that most of us don’t want to be reminded of our time at school. Re-living those times full of insecurity, those exams you could barely pass or having another argument with the parents about the curfew time.
Yes, high school might seem to have been a hard time. But hey, let’s not forget those wonderful times with friends, those exciting first parties and also, of course, that very first kiss.
Well, all of those topics are interwoven beautifully in “Soundtrack To Sixteen”, the latest film by director Hillary Shakespeare. Together with the help of her sister Anna-Elizabeth as a co-writer, she turned an original story into a charming, heart-warming and down-to-earth movie.
Meet Maisy (Scarlett Marshall), a 16-year-old school girl attending a ‘girls only’ school in London. She’s outgoing and cares for her friends but her more geeky and boy-ish side doesn’t make her incredibly popular at school.
She’s being excluded from many fancy gatherings and parties and that only makes the fact that she never kissed a boy even worse. She wants to have her first kiss with her handsome crush so badly before she turns 17 and because of that, she changes her personality.
Sadly, this might not have the effect she wants. Maisy starts to ignore her friends because now they’re ‘uncool’ and starts to hang out with the ‘cool’ kids who are taking advantage of her. How will this affect her friendship and the chance of having her first kiss?
On the other side of London, there’s 16 years old Ben (James Calloway) who’s going to a more fancier college. At first, you might think that Maisy and Ben have nothing in common but look closely. Both of them have never been kissed and aren’t socially very popular.
Apart from wanting to get his first kiss, Ben also wants to get decent grades during his upcoming exams. However, when he realises that that might not be as easy as he thought (especially because he gives up everything for it), the frustrations are running up high. Will Ben be able to achieve his expectations when it comes to both his school results and his love life?
How do Maisy and Ben meet each other? Well, that’s for you to find out. We hope you will because “Soundtrack To Sixteen” is such as charming, witty and entertaining movie and one you should see. For many different reasons.
The main reason is the extremely down-to-earth and familiar vibe this movie has. The Shakespeare sisters have put their heart and soul into the story as it has many elements of their own lives.
Because of that, this movie feels very personal for them but also for us. We’ve all been to school and we’ve all made wrong decisions when it comes to love, studies, parties, and parents.
While watching this film, you will recognise yourself during so many different scenes. Whether it’s having to choose between studying through the night or having some rest or being yourself and maybe not being accepted and changing who you in the hope of getting someone’s attention. The story isn’t only filled with many relatable topics and human emotions but also with cleverly written, funny and charming moments.
Moments that are being brought to the screen wonderfully by the unknown cast. There was no fancy casting process involved in this movie as the sisters did the casting themselves via online film and television job websites such as Mandy.com. However, that was certainly not a bad thing at all.
Marshall her performance as Maisy is just a fabulous one to watch. She puts a smile on your face many times whether it’s during the awkward and hilarious scenes or the loving and heart-warming ones. The voice-over that’s being used adds even more emotions, thoughts and feelings to this movie.
Opposite her, we see Calloway who certainly has a bright acting future ahead of him as well. While his performance might be a little bit too forced and sometimes a little bit too much, there’s still a very captivating and intriguing element to it. Again, also in his case, the witty voice-over heightened the emotions even more.
Both Marshall and Calloway have their strengths and when you bring them together they make sure a lovely on-screen acting pair. They can count on a very pleasant supporting cast, particularly Emily Jayne, Celiya Köster-Brown and Jennie Hilliard as the three beauty-obsessed, narcissistic and nasty popular girls.
This movie will feel even more personal if you grew up in London because it was shot entirely in the city. You will recognize many landmarks, streets and of course the typical buses due to which you will be transported into the story and London instantly. Also, the lack of special effects, no harsh cuts and the very natural looking camera work, make sure that “Soundtrack to Sixteen” is a very welcoming and easy-going film.
If you thought that you’ve seen every great British rom-com there is, well think again. While watching “Soundtrack to Sixteen” you will not only see a wonderful, relaxing and beautifully shot indie film but also you will discover very promising talent both in front and behind the camera.
“Soundtrack To Sixteen” is showing with a filmmaker and cast Q&A at the Prince Charles Cinema on Saturday 14th of March and Saturday 28th of March. It will also be screened in UK cinemas from the 14th of March 2020.