Craig Roberts made his name as the awkward teenager in the Welsh suburbs in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, and Just Jim finds him refining the role for this quirky comedy, which he also directs.
Roberts plays the title character, a high-school loner in the small town of Maesycwmmer, searching for friends and excitement. Everything changes when an impossibly cool American kid, Dean (Emile Hirsch – Into the Wild), moves in next door. Soon enough Jim is in with the in-crowd and dating the girl of his dreams, but when he discovers a dark secret about Dean he begins to question their friendship. Clearly Ayoade’s deft hand at suburban charm rubbed off on Roberts, but Just Jim is very much his own film; clearly resonant with the personal experiences of growing up in Welsh nowheresville and imbued with winning, quirky humour.