'Kidulthood' Movie Poster - Textual Analysis

As part of my ongoing research, I have decided to analyse several posters of popular films from the coming-of-age genre. These posters will help me and my final project because any recurring patterns within the films' marketing campaigns will help to structure the marketing campaign for my own movie. It will also help consumers to easily identify what genre my film is by just briefly looking at my film's poster or DVD cover.
The second film poster that I am going to analyse is 'Kidulthood'. I decided to analyse this poster because it clearly establishes the genre, the film's social context and what age group is this film's target audience. During its time of release (2006), Kidulthood was critically acclaimed for being - according to the Daily Mail - 'a harrowing, uncompromisingly bleak but thoughtful look at the anguish of being young and poor in Britain' and - according to The Guardian -  'a rollicking UK youth ride, cinematically filmed, persuasively acted and bumped along by a fantastic all-British soundtrack'.
The structure of this poster appears to be in a rule of thirds layout with the top layer containing an important element of typography, the middle layer depicting an even number of cast members casually standing or sitting looking towards the camera and the bottom layer showing the title's typography. This structure effectively creates three focus points for the consumer to look at; the quote at the top of the poster, the cast and the title of the film. This allows the audience to gain a clearer insight into what they can expect from this film.
The top third of the poster has a light background due to the bright, natural light from the sky in the photograph which is the poster's main foreground. This light background compliments the black font colour used for the review's typography. This choice of colour draws the audience's attention towards the very positive review given from a national body who have critiqued the film. Not only is there a five-star rating: the quote given by TOUCH magazine describes this film as being powerful, moving and unforgettable. These words are very positive (particularly 'unforgettable' which some may say is a hyperbole in this case) and this second opinion encourages the consumer to go and watch the film to see if the film actually is powerful or unforgettable just like the reviewer suggests. The five-star rating is given to films that are excellent or outstanding. This gives the consumer another reason to watch this film.

The centre third of the poster uses a relaxed version of  the rule of evens when it comes to the positioning of the film's main characters. The rule of evens is typically used when shooting an informal, casual photography of a group of people. This shows to the audience that the characters in this film poster are at ease or comfortable around each other. By positioning the two actors on the left of the third close together, this suggests to the audience that these two characters either have a close friendship or an intimate, romantic relationship. The relationship status is evident what with the male actor resting his left arm around her and the actress not responding in a negative way to his close proxemics. This could also be an enigma code in that their relationship could be a key influence in the film's events. There are several elements of the mise en scene that suggest to the audience that this group of young people are in a poorer area of society. Firstly, all of the male actors are wearing dark hooded jackets or jumpers. This type of clothing is stereotypically worn by gang members or people who are in a poorer area of society. Secondly, the actor on the far right is resting a baseball bat on his shoulder. A baseball bat is not only used to play cricket or baseball: it is also classed as a melee weapon. The actor's menacing glare towards the camera and his casual stance shows the audience that he is most likely using it as a weapon rather than a source of entertainment. This suggests to the audience that the film contains violent or intimidating scenes. It also suggests to the audience that this character could have an aggressive personality. Thirdly, the location of the photograph's shot appears to be within a run-down council estate. There are several elements of the mise en scene that suggest that this location is a council estate, e.g.; some of the actors are sat on top of concrete bollards, others are sat on a small concrete wall barricaded by a corroded iron guard and there is a faint, panoramic view of a run-down area just above the iron guard. This not only suggests to the audience the film's geographical context but it also suggests to the audience the film's genre. Council estates and apartment blocks are location code and conventions for a coming-of-age film. This, alongside the age of the characters in the shot, suggests to the audience that this film is a coming-of-age film. It appeals to fans of gritty coming-of-age films and it encourages them to spend money and watch this film.
The bottom third of the poster is where the title's typography is positioned. The bottom third's background is darker in comparison with the other two thirds because it is shadowed by the photograph's angle of light. The charcoal colour of the tarmac makes this third even darker. It compliments the typography's white font colour. This sudden brightness draws in the consumer's attention and it helps them find out the name of this film. It also helps them find out the essential information such as the release date, the age certificate and the studio's logo. It also allows the consumer to read the tagline which is 'Before adulthood comes...'. There is an ellipsis to confirm a dramatic pause. It is almost as if they want the consumer to fill in the blanks for them. As a result, this involves the audience and draws in their attention. The answer to this is the teenage years or childhood. This tells the audience that the characters in this film are either going to be children or teenagers. By viewing the characters in the main third of the poster, the consumer will soon realise that the characters in the film are teenagers or young adults. Teenage or young protagonists are a code and convention of coming-of-age films. This appeals to fan of this genre and it encourages them to go and watch this film. The difference in font size between the tag line's typography and the title's typography helps the consumer to identify what is the title and what is the tag line. The title's typography is all in block capitals except the 'i'. The 'i' emphasizes the word 'kid' in the film's title. The word 'kid' is slang for 'child'. 'Kid' is used as a colloquial phrase so that the consumer knows that this film is set in a modern-day society. The use of this colloquial phrase also suggests to the audience that the characters within this film are from a poorer background and have been raised in an environment where slang is used. This also suggests to the audience that other slang terms or even explicit language could be in this film. This appeals to people who enjoy gritty dramas where the environment is realistic and there is a naturalistic approach towards that film's themes or social issues. The word 'kidulthood' is not a word that is even registered in the dictionary. This is an enigma code because it makes the audience wonder what the phrase 'kidulthood' means and how it differs to being a teenager or a young adult. This amount of intrigue encourages the consumer to watch this film and discover what this phase in life actually is. Also in the bottom third are ways that the audience can access exclusive features that the film offers. There is a html address as well as a mobile number for consumers to text in order to access clips of the film. In terms of the age of audience, these elements of the poster targets the younger audience because it is younger people who tend to use their mobile phones more or browse around the internet on a daily basis. This is also a suggestion to the consumer that this film's target audience is a younger, teenage audience so it may discourage elderly people or parents of very young children from watching the film. Another feature that is in the bottom third of the poster is examples of artists from the film's soundtrack. In this film is music from Roots Manuva and Dizzee Rascal. By mentioning these popular artists, this attracts a different body of potential audience members: people who love listening to these artists and are fans. The choice of music (hip hop, rap and grunge music) also suggests to the audience that this film is aimed at a younger target audience. As a result, this could discourage people who are not fans of these artists from watching this film in order to prevent themselves from listening to their least favourite artist's music.


  1. Hi, I'm actually in search for a poster that is in the pregnant girl's room. It's the poster next to the poster of Eminem. Any idea how I can find it or who I can get in contact with to find the poster?

  2. Hi, I'm actually in search for a poster that is in the pregnant girl's room. It's the poster next to the poster of Eminem. Any idea how I can find it or who I can get in contact with to find the poster?