Having recently returned from a study trip to Manchester, Gabríel (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson) is eager to keep a new crush from his friends and family. Tracking Markús (Haraldur Ari Stefánsson) down to a local hairdresser’s, Gabríel accompanies him to a nearby party only to have his feelings betrayed and his world thrown into turmoil.
Gabríel isn’t the only of his friends with problems, however, as Gréta (Birna Rún Eiríksdóttir) attempts to contact her AWOL father, Teddi (Elías Helgi Kofoed-Hansen) and Tara (Kristín Pétursdóttir) deal with the end of their relationship, and Stella (Hreindís Ylva Garðarsdóttir) embarks on a romance of her own despite her overbearing grandmother’s clear disapproval.
While Jitters could easily be written off as an Icelandic Skins, it would be to the film’s disservice. Dramatising relatable concerns and featuring an array of believable characters, Jitters is a far cry from the self-indulgent sensationalism of the recent seasons of Skins. Featuring a likeable and sympathetic teenage ensemble, the film covers the usual array of issues, tempering the angst with a welcome dose of wit and good humour. Though the plot does occasionally skip beyond the realms of believability, it is never solely for the sake of provoking controversy.
When the usual melodrama gives way to genuine tragedy and dramatics, the young cast rise to the challenge with admirable aplomb. Though the acting is unlikely to warrant any serious academic attention, it lends the film a respectability beyond the subgenre’s infamously low standard. Director Baldvin Zophoníasson does an honourable job of juggling an impressive number of subplots while never losing sight of the numerous characters and their various interrelationships.
Funny, touching and genuinely likeable – if unambitious – Jitters is a functional coming of age yarn elevated by good performances and a relatively understated portrayal of teen life.