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average rating is 5 out of 5


Chris Buick


Posted on:

Mar 17, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Teddy Nygh
Written by:
Shazia Rashid
Shaquille Ali-Yebuah, Aimée Kelly, Harry Kirton, Nicola Hughes

Reaching the tender age of eighteen is a unique pivotal point in anyone’s life. Yes, technically you are an adult now, congratulations. And you can now do all the things you’ve always wished you could as you enter what seems like a whole new world of infinite possibilities and potential that has opened itself up right in front of you.


But that one day where everything changes on a piece of paper in no way means you’re suddenly now equipped to handle everything life throws at you from then on. Eighteen is a wakeup call in many ways, and short film 18 tells the heart-breaking powerful story of that realisation for three young adults, for whom this is an eighteenth birthday they will never forget, for all the wrong reasons.


Looking to make Ali’s (Kelly) eighteenth birthday as special as it can be, her young beau Jerome (Ali-Yebuah) enlists the help of his best friend Eddie (Kirton) to come up with some ideas. Writer Shazia Rashid succeeds in immaculately creating authentic characters that may be of age but are still young at heart and at mind. Jerome’s naivety at romance but overall good-hearted nature is ultimately charming and relatable, mixed with a certain sense of bravado and over-confidence he shares with Eddie to really emphasise that feeling one can get at that age where the world is seemingly yours for the taking. Whereas Ali, perhaps younger but more mature, expects that little bit more from Jerome, and balances the other two in a much-needed way as the voice of reason and maturity of the group.


But then there’s the moment where their innocence doesn’t just fade away, it is completely obliterated. The scene in question, is simply a directing triumph. It captures every emotion that could possibly be felt and the way it sets you on edge after punching you in the gut is a testament to director Teddy Nygh’s eye for visual storytelling, capturing perfectly that moment where the significance of coming of age really sets in and lives are changed forever.


And it’s the three, truly great young leads, who front what must be said is also a tremendous overall supporting cast, that might be the most impressive. Ali-Yebuah, Kirton and Kelly (who have all deservedly gone on to do even more great things since) are just astounding in their performances, and it is Kirton especially who is most inspiring to watch as they go through that unstoppable transition from care-free brand-new adult to now needing to face the hard realities of life head on for themselves and realising there is no guide book for it, and what a bombshell that can be. It’s a film that covers so many themes; friendship, trauma, love, judgement, loss, grief and the fact that in all these aspects the entire effortless cast doesn’t blink once is incredible.


A brilliantly well-crafted drama that showcases the true complexities of human emotion and what it means to grow up that not only deserves its awards but could stand up there with some of the other coming of age classics.

About the Film Critic
Chris Buick
Chris Buick
Short Film
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