Monday, September 29, 2014
GOD HELP THE GIRL (2014)
Written & Directed By: Stuart Murdoch
Cinematography By: Giles Nuttgens
Editor: David Arthur
Cast: Emily Browning, Hannah Murray, Olly Alexander, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bisset
Set in Glasgow, Scotland, the film is about a girl called Eve who is in the hospital dealing with some emotional problems and starts writing songs as a way of getting better. Songwriting becomes her way forward, leading her to the City where she meets James and Cassie, two musicians each at crossroads of their own. What follows is a story of renaissance over the course of a long, dream-like Summer. While I can admit that this film isn't for everyone. It charmed me from the beginning. Then Again this was a film I looked forward to and met all my criteria. It is a sensitive film that might be too soft for some out there. It was perfect to me.
This film had me from the first scene. It took my hand and never let it go until it was over. It’s opening chords and vocals still ringing in my hair like a siren’s song
This film is more a treat that is tinged in vintage. Even the film stock feels grainy, colorful and classic
The film feels timeless easy to call it pretentious, or twee. However, It feels like it is coming from a sincere place.
The film doesn't cover new ground, but presents it's story in refreshing ways that makes them feel influence yet personal. While it makes it's French new wave influence obvious.
Just because a film borrows certain elements. Doesn't mean they can't be original or have their own identity.
It's like a teenager trying on different personalities showcasing it's inspiration and influences like a badge. Using them to form themselves to a degree --I'm a sucker for a film that can connect faith, disorder, literature, music, film, creativity. Plus i will admit to being a fan of the director and his bands BELLE AND SEBASTIAN and GOD HELP THE GIRL.
Started the later as a side project album and band. Where most of the so he from the album are in the film performed or played in the background of scenes. Making the film become a bit autobiographical also as director Stuart Murdoch suffers from O.C.D. And how faith in religion, songwriting and forming a band helped him out of his disorder. Kind Of like how he leads anorexia is a constant problem but her adventures help her to get out of it. Though the film time to time forgets about her ordeal In favor of staying with the plot.
Knowing the bands history I couldn’t help but wonder if this was mythologizing, not only their formation, but also a peace offering (Olive branch) and acknowledgement to his partner who helped form the band Isobel Campbell, who left Belle & Sebastian eventually around 2002. A split that didn’t seem amicable and peaceful With the scenes not only making the pre-existing songs come alive but give them a deeper depth.
Makes it all lyrical while also examining the artistic process not as deep, but acknowledges it. Though it seems to come easily for the characters.
Leaves room for some songs to seem more like fantasy then reality. Though most are performed for one reason or another for others.
Does the film have it's flaws sure, bit they more or less help celebrate the films D.I.Y. Spirit and message. It's rough around the edges Yet feels smooth.
The musical scenes don't necessarily always have big productions. Honestly that makes them feel a bit more special and homegrown. The small scale that seems to be performance plus an extension of emotions that can't be expressed as easily by dialogue only between the characters. It is a case of showing not telling.
It was once said music are the sound of feelings and emotions. This film definitely holds that to be a truth.
The staging not as vivid as one would hope in a musical, but effective for sensitive song lyrics and music.
It's low budget makes It feel more intimate as it keeps it's productions small when it seems like they could have been bigger spectacles that would have spread it's message and feelings though come off grandiose and artificial for the story that is trying to be told. It wouldn't have the pull of a certain hardened reality. Though it is thorough with it's many ideas.
The film presents the classic example of the Manic pixie dream girl and while never given a complete history. We get filled in some blanks and hear her side of the story. Giving the film a more loved in quality of problems and not just being a film subservient to its genre and influences.
The director and camera obviously love actress Emily browning who comes into her own In this film. The perfect muse for his emotions and ideas as well as ours in the audience. She does her own vocals as do all the rest of the actors. She provides the long looks and takes. As the camera lingers on her face usually in close-up. She is the main Character and the film wants us to fall in love with her. This damaged, scrappy, troubled yet talented girl. Who has a haunted otherworldly beauty and presence.
This is a hell of a comeback for her. As it is a film that makes you notice more in the details then other films. She has played major roles in (SLEEPING BEAUTY, SUCKER PUNCH, LEMONY SNICKET) this film seems to get along purely on it's ideas. This film also seemed to know how to bring about and use her talents.
The camera always seems to be moving, yet makes the most of it's still moments.
She seems like the type you want to save, but shows she won't let herself fall into that trap.
The film manages to show love as something that helps the characters grow though not necessarily end up together forever. Just as in life some people you love and never forget or get over, but don't end up with.
This film illustrates, my Headphone theory Growing up a headphones were big to block out the work so that you were immersed in the universe that the music you listened To illustrated in your mind then when portable devices came into being the headphones became thin and wiry. As they have evolved over the years the headphones have sought to become more aerodynamic with wrap-arounds and eventually buds which allowed you To share the music you Listen to with a partner which can be an intimacy and private thing of it's own. Now the big headphones are coming back for a fuller sound and to block out the world around you to a degree to allow yourself to get lost in the music. It also shows vintage a classic quality to the invention that makes the music you like personal.
This film reminds me of when lyrics made sense they have an emotional, poetic quality and created drama and defined situations, moods, people. Music can tell you everything in only a few minutes and make it feel it.
When music was everything you thought about. Finding beauty and reality in the tune. That flirted with your eardrums and bring pleasure as a romantic quality in simple dressing that involved dancing, ice cream and bike rides. Traveling an emotional landscape of pleasure and pain. That is what this film achieves or at least reminds one of intimacy. The peer of friendship and the nostalgic magic of the past, people and places from it that help shape and create you as your journey forth into adulthood. I don't know if I should have just used the term whimsical to say all of that.
Among the boys in the queue outside Eve's bathroom are Hannah Murray with a mustache and Anton's dummy.
I find it particularly interesting that shortly before watching this film. I had seen Olly Alexander and Hannah Murray play intimates in the final season of SKINS and here they are affecting me again.
Elle Fanning was cast in the role of Cassie, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts and Hannah Murray was later cast. In a role that bears the name of her character on the popular teen drama SKINS. Though Elle Fanning would seem to more fit the age of the character.
It's like a line in the film. How we all when younger are violently fans of music, movies, books and video games. That it takes a certain importance. We have loads of free time as we get older we don't as we gain more responsibilities and other intentions that only a few stay obsessive. Some find themselves doing it as an expression of their talent and emotions as it provides what we all want to at least be, a footnote in the sort of the world, Mean something to others and someone at least. Who doesn't have to, only those in those careers seek to be a footnote in the history of what they worshipped and loved. They want to mean something to it be associated with it as they sacrificed their time in life to it. Some succeed to a degree some don't
This is so far my favorite film that i have seen this year. I believe it will Definitely make my top ten of the year