To me he is the quintessential awkward teen and all the more charming for it. Perhaps Kermode recognises too much of his own teen self in the character. I certainly do. The flights of fancy, the feeling of self importance, bad judgement born out immaturity and a misplaced sense of what matters. But it is all that which makes for such an amusing film about first love.
Duffle-coat wearing Oliver is trying to fit in at school, trying to impress and sustain a relationship with his first girlfriend the pyromaniac Jordana and trying to stop his mum running off with an old-flame.
Craig Roberts who plays Oliver has been a jobbing child actor since the age of nine and last year was listed as a face of the future by Nylon magazine, as was Yasmin Paige who plays Jordana. The two hold their own against some acting heavy weights, never allowing themselves to get over shadowed despite superb performances by Sally Hawkins playing Oliver's blouse buttoned-up-to the neck mum and Paddy Considine's leather trousers-wearing old-flame Graham.