Kidulthood is a 2006 British drama film set in 2002, about the life of a group of 15-year-olds from West London. It was directed by Menhaj Huda and written by Noel Clarke, who played Sam in the film, the villain. The films shows most of the characters generally behave in a violent and lawless manner, engaging in crime, sex, and recreational drug taking. The story mainly focuses on Trevor, the anti hero also known as “Trife” (played by Aml Ameen), and Alisa (Red Madrell), his on and off girlfriend.
The films starts with Katie (Rebecca Martin), a student who is being bullied by Sam and his friends, she is constantly being abused and getting threats. No one stands up for her and her parents are unaware, she then commits suicide leaving a note behind. The whole film is filled with stereotypes relating to the race. Taking Katie for example, she’s the victim who just happens to be one of the only white girls in the film, as you can see in the film she comes from a well off family. The stereotype here is one that appears on a lot of films, the white privilege girl that comes from a good family but is troubled, bullied, the victim. Eventually she commits suicide.
Another female character is Becky (Jaime Winstone) who takes the roll of Alisa’s best friend and bad influence. Everything about her is everything that is wrong with the representation of women in media, Becky is shown taken Alisa to an older man’s house to buy drugs and because they have no money, Becky then proceeds perform sexual acts in return for drugs and pressures Alisa in doing the same. They are also then seen drinking alcohol and taken drugs despise the fact that Alisa is pregnant. Then they sell the drugs for money to buy dresses for the party that everyone is planning to go to. Becky also sleeps with an older man that she sold the drugs to. Becky is the instigator and Alisa feels that she has to follow her friend’s actions in everything. When buying dresses, Becky is rude to the salesman and makes Alisa buy a cheaper dress so she can buy a more expensive one even though earlier she had said they were going to divide the money equally between the both of them. Like a lot of the characters in this film, it is built on stereotype, in Becky’s case her character representation reinforces negative stereotypes of women like being vain, selfish and slutty.
One thing these two character have is common, is they seem to come from the same social background and have the same ethnicity. Both reinforce negative stereotypes that one relates to their social background and ethnicity.
The main female character Alisa (Red Madrell) reinforces the negative representation of youth in England, one of the biggest stereotypes of the british youth is teenage pregnancy. After she finds out she is pregnant, she calls Trife and tells him he is the father, unhappy and angry with the news not believing he is the father earlier on Sam had told Trife that he had slept with Alisa.
In general all throughout the film there’s a very bad representation of teenagers, full of stereotypes implying that teenagers are all irresponsible (from getting pregnant at 15 to nearly overdosing on drugs and alcohol) or rude. Like in later scenes it is shown Jay (Adam Deacon) going into a shop, being rude to the shop owner, stealing, causing trouble; in various occasions Jay is seen being rude to a lot of people reinforcing negative stereotypes of teenagers having no manners and being rude as well as criminals.
Trevor (Aml Ameen) the anti hero of the film, also helps with the teenager stereotypes of being no good. He is shown being violent, getting into bad business with his uncle and even harms someone for his uncle, when he realises what he has done. He runs. Then he realises what he has done, and goes to find Alisa at the party that everyone was planning on going to. The representation of this character is also full of stereotypes, like the one that people of colour are usually the “gangsters” and doing bad things. This representation is very similar to the one they choose for Sam’s character, it negatively stereotypes black people.
A lot of violence is involved in the film, which just adds to the negative representation of the character. From the boys tricking their way into Sam’s house in order to retrieve a Game Boy he had stolen earlier, they then proceed to steal Sam’s cannabis and Jay has sex with Sam’s girlfriend, Claire (Madeleine Fairley). When Sam returns and threatens them, the boys hit him with a keyboard and escape along with Claire. In the process, they knock Sam’s mother to the floor. This is how their main feud happens ending with Trevor dying and Sam nearly getting killed by Katie’s brother who read in the his sister’s suicide note which said that Sam threaten to kill her so she was going to save him the trouble.
Most of the representation and stereotypes are negative but at the same time corrective to bring awareness to what happens with todays youth. Even though it gives teenagers a bad image, it brings awareness. The film also stereotypes the youth of the UK, for people outside the uk, it gives England especially London a bad image.
The film was both directed and created by non-white people, so the people who are creating a bad representation of black and asian people are black/asian themselves. Like for example the director is of Bangladesh ethnicity and the writer is black british. Maybe they did it to bring awareness and didn’t do it on purpose.
Overall the film features a lot of stereotypes and bad representations.