Rachel Tunnard is a BAFTA “Brit to Watch” and was named as one of the “Creative England 50” in 2015. Her short film “Emotional Fusebox” was nominated for a BAFTA and a BIFA. Her feature film “Adult Life Skills” is premiering this week at the Tribeca Film Festival and already has a U.K. release date set for June 24.
The film stars Jodie Whittaker (“Broadchurch”) as Anna, whom Tribeca’s official synopsis describes as, “approaching 30 and has just moved back to her rural home-town, and into a shed in her mother’s backyard. She spends her time working a menial job at a local boating center and hides in the depths of her imagination, making movies with her thumbs. Irritated by her childish behavior, Anna’s mother insists that she move out of her shed and on with her life. When a troubled young boy starts hanging around, the two form an unlikely bond. Through their strange yet mutually beneficial friendship, Anna slowly begins to confront her perpetual state of arrested development.”
In an interview with Women and Hollywood, Tunnard summarized the film as “a story about being lost and finding yourself, making peace with who you are and regaining self-confidence and dignity.” She added, “I always say it is basically the same themes as ‘Rocky,’ if you think about it. But with a shed. And a cowboy. And no boxing.”
One of the things we love about “Adult Life Skills” is how it rejects the notion of a “strong female character” in favor of an interesting one that is allowed to mess up, lose her way and has to figure it all out. “I think that life is brilliant and a tragedy and this contradiction is at the center of what I wanted to write — a story that is funny but serious; artful but true; ugly but beautiful, said Tunnard. “A celebration in the face of something awful. I also wanted my characters to embody those contradictions too — because people are messy, right? And we are not always strong. Things happen; we make mistakes; we need other people.”
The trailer features hilarious conversations about armpit hair, periods and penis-shaped gifts. “Sometimes I wish the suffragettes hadn’t bothered,” one character deadpans.
Check out the spot for “Adult Life Skills” below, and keep an eye out for a U.S. release announcement.