Saturday, January 1, 2011

GIRL'S TOWN (1996)

Directed By: Jim McKay
Written By: Jim McKay, Denise Casano, Anna Grace, Bruklin Harris, Lili Taylor
Cinematography By: Russell Lee Fine
Editor: Alex Hall & Jim McKay

Cast: Lili Taylor, Anna Grace, Aunjanue Ellis, Asia Minor, Bruklin Harris, Guillermo Diaz

The leads seem different from the rest of the cast. The rest of the cast feel real, The leads seem more like characters which doesn’t help the film. Even lili Taylor for how good of a actress feels and looks too old she is hard to believe as a teenage mother. It feels at times that her performance goes into caricature. The other two leads are less recognizable which helps as they don’t bring baggage of other roles they may have played that would pulled some audience members right out of the film. With unknowns they have the chance to be defined by the roles some people see them first in, especially if they are believable. Sometimes they never go onto anything so that the one time you see them they will always be that role to you.

The other leads don’t have as much to do other then keep the main Plot/Story going until it meets it’s natural conclusion. They try to give them personalities and clue you in on there home life but it’s more a means to a end to keep the movie going. Making the film try to have a more European feel as it is a indie it is allowed as the filmmakers artistic expression, It is a true ensemble piece.

The film is very entertaining, It’s just the more I think about the film. The more I see the problems with it. If it was a studio film all I would have to do is sit there and not think, but as a independent drama the film is more made to make the audience think and care. Get drawn into the world these characters inhabit. So when you do you feel a inherent fakeness to it all. It tries to be more a slice of life portrait of these characters and their surroundings. Which is shook up due to a friends suicide and the reading of her diary. Which makes it more Plot specific or is what filmmakers use to get the ball rolling to add some sort of drama by reaction to a certain action. It is a nice attempt but leads to numerous problems, I will give it credit as the film does have style. It also gives a rare female voice to the coming of age saga, With a definite feminist message though directed by a male.

The Script has written situations but the dialogue is all three of the main actresses doing improv in rehersals as the characters. Sort of like how Director mike leigh writes his screenplays.

I miss movies like this, during the 90’s the indie movement was in full effect. So there were dozens of these films airing and premiering each year not all were great but they were trying new things and introduced a lot of talent into the cinema and to audiences. It also gave actors who were not household names a chance to work steadily and build up a resume. Sort of like the theater.


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