Colour and comedy erupts onto the screen from the very opening scene in Raine Allen-Miller’s feature debut Rye Lane. Set in the vivacious corners of South London, a chance awkward encounter in the unisex bathroom of a mutual friend’s eccentric art exhibition leads to aspiring costume-designer Yas and recently heartbroken Dom spending the day together. After an interrupted reconciliation date, unexpected karaoke sessions and a cheeky Colin Firth cameo amongst other various embarrassing and hilarious hijinks, the two twenty-somethings find themselves growing closer as unexpected partners-in-crime.
Stunningly shot with vibrance and fun filling up every corner of the frame, Rye Lane drips with charisma and depicts the laughs of falling in love – with both another person and with London. Yas with her hilariously blunt witty banter and the sweet, self-conscious Dom charm their way into our hearts and provide lots of laugh out loud moments that make the movie perfect for inviting your friends over with snacks and supermalts. David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah’s lively performances bring a zinging script to life, showcasing the London Lingo that I’m sure many of us 2010’s London kids can’t help but smile at when seen on screen, as well as add a touch of tenderness in the softer moments. Play bingo with the on-location shots and beam with joy at the celebration of what it can be like to be young and living in London in an industry that all too often neglects to show us positive representation of young Black British people and their communities on screen. In a world constantly churning with new chaos and uncertainty, Allen-Miller’s film gives us something to warm our hearts and shake out our smiles again.
I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Rye Lane on the big screen at the Reading Biscuit Factory as part of Through a Different Lens’s season of events for Black History Month: Black History, Black Future. Through a Different Lens is a group based in Reading focused on bringing film makers and film lovers together through community centred events, such as last weekend. Showcasing underrepresented stories and uplifting diverse creative projects is at the heart of Through a Different Lens, from running film festivals to supporting local creatives in getting their films from script to screen. I had the pleasure of meeting Jocelyn, the passionate soul at the heart of Through a Different Lens, and her wonderful volunteers who help bring us all together through the joyful experience of laughing together in front of the cinema screen.
Check out Through A Different Lens and all they have to offer at throughadifferentlens.co.uk as well as on Instagram and Facebook. You can also read more about what went on this weekend through an interview with Jocelyn on Reading Biscuit Factory’s website here. I highly recommend checking it out to see the inspiring work they help facilitate right here in Berkshire!
As for Rye Lane, I think I speak for many other people who were in Screen 3 with me last Friday that if this is what Allen-Miller’s creative mind has to offer us, we are eagerly awaiting what she brings to our cinema screens next. I’d recommend this film to the London kids, hip-hop karaoke lovers, people who enjoyed Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart and anyone who’s looking for a fun film to share with their friends this weekend.