The Festival, 4.6/10, explores the modern path to adulthood that every teenager makes – their first festival. Now I can only speak from personal experience, a typically British occasion, but this film has captured the essence of a festival reasonably well. Having attended many a festival, I, although diluted, shared similar feelings to the main character at times. This is probably a contributing factor as to why I found this film so entertaining for a seemingly average film.
The film’s plot isn’t that complex: after Nick’s (played by Joe Thomas) girlfriend Caitlin (played by Hannah Tointon) decides to publicly dump him on the day of their graduation, Nick has a monumental breakdown and humiliates himself in front of the whole university. His best friend – Shane (played by Hammed Animashaun) suggests the only way to solve his heartache and humiliation is by attending a three-day festival – full of drink, mud and mishaps. Moving on seems doable until he ends up running into her as soon as he arrives. However, with help from Shane and their new ‘train gang’ compadre, Amy (played by Claudia O’Doherty), Nick may find a source of strength left in his being to live a life without Caitlin.
Above, I mentioned that I found this film entertaining for a very average movie but I should probably expand on why I found this film ‘very average’. Joe Thomas is undeniably most well-known for playing Simon from the UK’s Inbetweeners, directed by Iain Morris – also director of this film. Joe plays an almost identical character in The Festival to the one of his famed role in the teenage classic. In fact, they even date the same actress in both. Also, they both have run-ins with the same ketamine-loving actor. To me, personally, the similarities were too close and lacking in originality that it almost felt like this could of been a sequel to the Inbetweeners rather than a stand-alone offering. In fact, the premise from the first Inbetweeners movie (2011) even shared a similar narrative structure: an awkward teenager desperately loves a girl thought to be out his league, he’s thrown into an unknown social environment out of the character’s familiar surroundings: in this film it is a festival, in the Inbetweeners movie it’s Ibiza). The character then spends the majority of his time chasing after a love interest that has no interest in him and inevitably, ends up pissing on all his friend in the process.
The entertainment value comes from the social observation of British festival behaviour and that was because it was relatable for me. The film’s filler shots of the actual going-ons had me quietly chuckling away to myself. This and Shane’s father Robin (played by Jermain Clement). Clement’s comedic acting brilliance and on-screen presence is responsible for the higher scoring ‘Entertainment’ section of my rating system.
If you’re a fan of the British sense of humour, that has pretty much been birthed from The Inbetweeners and Fresh Meat exploring the modern coming of age, you are sure to find this an enjoyable watch but be aware that it hasn’t been pulled off to the same standard. As Brits, we display a phenomenal array of comical talent but it always seems to struggle to progress any further than the television. Don’t get me wrong, we have some remarkable comedy classics but this isn’t one of them. The Festival is: you’re up late flicking through the television, you see this film showing on E4 and you decide to leave it on. Although not mind-blowing, you will be pleasantly entertained.
Entertainment (of its genre): 6/10
Overall opinion: 4.6/10