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The Selfish Giant review

We review The Selfish Giant - a grim but moving drama from writer/director Clio Barnard

The Selfish Giant poster

The Selfish Giant

Certificate: 15

Starring: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilde

Release date: 2013

4 out of 5


Young newcomers Chapman and Thomas give stunning performances in The Selfish Giant, a grim but moving drama from writer/director Clio Barnard. They play Arbor and Swifty, two young Bradford teens who have been abandoned by both their school and their families, and are surviving by selling stolen copper cable to scummy junk dealer Kitten (Gilder).

Loosely based on Oscar Wilde’s short story but bleakly updated to the present day, this is similar in feel to Ken Loach’s moving Kes, and skilfully mixes humour with gritty scenes and heart-wrenching drama. The two leads, and Gilder, are all mesmerising to watch, while Barnard’s script and direction pull you in and don’t let you go until the end credits. A terrific piece of British cinema.

Is The Selfish Giant suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...


This is a movie for teenagers (15 and over) and adults and is not suitable for younger viewers due to the tragic nature of the plot and strong language.

There are some violent scenes and drug references.

If you like this, why not try: Kes, Lucas, Stand By Me, Gregory's Girl, Radio Flyer,