8 months ago
It could be easy to mistake this well crafted film for a documentary. It captures the best, worst and everything between of South London.
Rye Lane hit the big screens on the 17th March and has already captured the hearts of so many. This South London based film was directed by Raine Allen-Miller and follows a day in which the main duo Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) start as strangers and finish up as much more… It’s heartwarming, it’s nostalgic and it’ll certainly make you laugh. Here are our reasons why you should go and watch Rye Lane immediately.
1. The cameo characters
Don’t get us wrong, the core actors in Rye Lane are solid. Carrying a film with the majority of the weight being shared between just two shoulders without it feeling boring or repetitive is an impressive feat, but the cameo characters that pop up really add a little sparkle.
Munya Chawawa, satirist and comic actor, pops up in a restaurant scene (shot at Peckham restaurant Il Giardino) as an in-house singer, letting diners know to turn over their paddles to green for more food, and red to stop service. It’s a snippet and it’s fantastic. And it tastefully pokes fun at the gimmicky restaurants that we can’t stop going to.
Then Colin Firth appears! We weren’t expecting that. Serving in his burrito eatery ‘Love Guactually’ (props to whoever came up with that name), Colin is the embodiment of every tourist-tired street food server. He doesn’t want to answer questions, he’s not interested in substitutions for your order, and he’d probably rather you never came in the first place. But there’s no doubt that the food he’s handing over is going to slap.
2. The scene transitions
We could watch a film of those scene transitions. Snippets of real South London living captured so beautifully in all their vibrant colours. You get to see kids on the street filming TikTok dances, you see snippets of the messy insides of the market shops, you get a real sense of Brixton at rush hour.
In fact, the whole thing is so realistic that you could send it to someone who’s never dipped a toe in South London and they’d quickly get to understand what we are all about over here.
3. Enjoy the diversity
The opening scene (which is filmed in the bathrooms of Coal Rooms in Peckham) is a cracking representation of all the diversity we love about South London. As the camera pans over the top of the stalls, we see girls throwing up, a mum battling with two small children, a man in a suit, people taking drugs, and then Dom sitting by himself crying. The true hoi polloi of community which is continually represented throughout the film. The man in the cowboy suit aimlessly wandering, the Caribbean BBQ scene that invokes the smell of Brixton in summer, the street sellers… There’s a lot of different people in South London, and they all get a look-in at some point.
4. The raw honesty
We love a reality check, and Rye Lane certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to giving it to us straight. Our favourite nugget is during the rent conversation, where Yas talks about being able to afford ‘cute cocktails’ vs paying her rent. We’ve all made those calculations before a night out. And then there’s the bit where Yas tells another woman how great her outfit is, a compliment that is received gratefully. When Dom tries the same tac with a bloke in a checkout line the comment goes down in a completely different way. Dom is quickly told to f**k off and we are all left reminiscing a time when we misjudged speaking to a stranger too.
5. Discover new places (and get excited about the ones you already know)
Though it’s always been a star to us, Morley’s finally gets its moment in Rye Lane. The cult fried chicken shop is a Brixton institution and rightfully deserving of the queues it is sure to attract now. Of course, there’s a lot of Brockwell Park as Dom and Yas walk around. A scene that teases us of the balmy summer days where we can sit out on the grass with friends into the evening has really got us dreaming of warmer evenings.
Brixton Village also gets a good amount of screen time, the snippets we see of it play into the chaotic, delightful nature of the Village. A woman wrestling bundle of helium balloons out of a door, Yas presents Dom with a garish fake flower, the meat and fish stalls are present in all their glory that you can almost smell them. A perfect representation of what it means to be in Brixton Village.
…And who knew that the Bovril sign in was so aesthetic? We’re expecting to see a flurry of instagrams with that in the background any moment now.
So those were 5 reasons to go and see Rye Lane immediately, but we could have kept going. This is the kind of film you’ll want to watch again as soon as you’ve left. The feel good factor is high and you’ll be thinking about it for days afterwards. To get the full, immersive experience? Watch it at The Ritzy. Duh.