What does it take to change a child’s life? Set against the backdrop of a Britain rife with debates around class, identity, and social mobility, H is for Harry follows 11-year-old Harry as he starts at a brand new school in suburban London unable to read or write. For the next two years, Harry fights to improve academically and slowly begins to believe in a different future for himself.
Arriving at Reach Academy in Feltham, young Harry struggles to overcome three generations of illiteracy with the help of a dedicated first year teacher, Sophie. She runs a specialist English group that strives to help him catch up so he can re-join his friends, and we watch his struggles with literacy from day one. We also meet his father Grant, who attends regular meetings about his son’s progress and misbehavior in school. Grant fights tooth and nail to keep his son in school as he believes it can save him from a life of illiteracy and poverty.
This intimate portrayal of one charismatic boy’s journey towards adulthood depicts the often-unnoticed impact that material and aspirational poverty can have on a child’s future. Portraying the world from the child’s perspective, the film brims with both humor and heartache and is at the crux of current debates about society’s growing inequality.