Irish teen movies could never be considered a genre that spoils give-it-a-go viewers for choice, so kudos to actor-turned-director Hugh O'Conor and co for their services to growing pains.
Now, Metal Heart isn't up there with the greats from, say, Amy Heckerling (Clueless), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club), Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) or Penelope Spheeris (Suburbia) - what is? - but it's an easy watch, well cast and acted. And that message of being true to yourself never gets old - no matter how many candles are on the cake.
Chalk-and-cheese fraternal twins Emma (Jordanne Jones) and Chantal (Leah McNamara) are left to fend for themselves when their parents head off on a lengthy adventure holiday. Emma is devoted to decibels, distortion and despair, Chantal has her business plan, and life, all mapped out.
The parents have just waved goodbye when the problems start piling up on the doorstep. The return of a musician neighbour (Moe Dunford) causes friction about his true nature. Chantal sustains a neck injury and her fabulous influencer life is put on hold. Emma is in desperate need of cash for a rehearsal space for her fledgling duo, Desecrated Viscera, and is forced to take over Chantal's job at the ice cream shop. You made more drama out of less way back when.
I Used to Live Here star Jones and Vikings' McNamara prove well-matched for the sparks and snarkiness of Skippy Dies author Paul Murray's script, so hopefully the pair's paths will cross again in brilliant careers further down the line. And having grown up himself on screen, director O'Conor deserves to get behind the lens on something with a bigger budget in the future. Although money is tight here and things are a bit stop-start, you're not short-changed in terms of sentiment, with a couple of decent laughs along the way.
On a wet weekend in February, a little Irish film would have its work cut out. With the mercury up in the 20s and Yesterday also on screens Metal Heart's order is even taller. You'd need a heart of stone not to wish it good luck.