Friday, December 22, 2017

Girlhood (2014) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 42
Movie Name/Year: Girlhood (2014)
Tagline: You don’t have the full story. Until you know hers.
Genre: Drama
Length: 113 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Hold Up Films, Lilies Films, Arte France Cinéma, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), Fonds Images de la Diversité, Agence Nationale pour la Cohésion Sociale et l'Egalité des Chances (ACSE), Région Ile-de-France, Canal+, Arte France, Ciné+, Pyramide Distribution, Films Distribution, Arte / Cofinova 9
Producer: Remi Burah, Benedicte Couvreur, Olivier Pere
Director: Celine Sciamma
Writer: Celine Sciamma
Actors: Karidja Toure, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Marietou Toure, Idrissa Diabate, Simina Soumare, Dielika Coulibaly, Cyril Mendy, Djibril Gueye, Binta Diop, Chance N’Guessan, Rabah Nait Oufella, Damien Chapelle, Nina Melo, Elyes Sabyani, Halem El Sabagh, Aurelie Verillon
Stunts: Virginie Arnaud, Gregory Loffredo, Astou Vedel

Blurb from Netflix: Disillusioned with life at school and at home, a cynical teenager drops out, joins a gang and begins an arduous search for independence.

Selina’s Point of View:
I was all set to give this film a really high score… and then the ending happened.

It came out of absolutely nowhere, but not in a good way. Twist endings, unexpected conclusions… I love that stuff. If that was what happened, it would have been fine. I’d have loved it. However, it wasn’t. The last ten minutes or so of the film decided to alter the main character at a somewhat core level.

For a moment I just kind of looked around, wondering if I’d missed something during the movie.

Did Netflix cut out a part of it? Did I miss some kind of subtitle that would have explained the sudden weirdness to me?

I did a lot of rewinding and fast-forwarding after the film finished and, no, I don’t think I missed anything. I think the writer completely lost the plot for a few minutes and then had to rush to finish it because nothing made sense anymore.

It’s a real shame, too. The majority of the film was engrossing and interesting. The acting wasn’t my favorite, but the story was decent enough that I was willing to forgive that.

I’m so disappointed in the way Girlhood left off.

Cat’s Point of View:
I am really on the fence with Girlhood. On one hand, I was happily immersed in the world of the main character; and on the other, there were a few things that bugged me here and there that didn’t let me fully buy-in.

That being said, the dialogue felt natural and I honestly felt like I was the proverbial fly on the wall watching a teenage girl find new friends and a new sense of self. I found myself smiling while rooting for her and her squad, even feeling a sense of worry or dread as I feared something negative might happen to her.

Thank goodness for the subtitles. Even if I had a rough knowledge of French, I’m not sure if I would have been able to keep up with the rapid-fire conversations and environmental banter. I was quite happy that the pacing kept up but didn’t run away with the words before I could read them. This is one of those movies I absorbed the subtitles without really noticing them most of the time. The majority of the film flows really well.

Of course, there were a couple stumbling blocks that kicked me out of the groove a few times. What was up with the extended scene transitions with a totally dark screen? It took fade-to-black a little too seriously. There was also one scene that was far longer than I would have anticipated. However, with the context of the musical selection involved, I imagine they were trying to get the most bang for their buck.

I think what bugged me the most about the movie was the ending. It felt too abrupt for me and I don’t feel like enough resolution happened one way or another. When the final scene ended and credits began, I wondered if I was being punked. I thought, surely, that there would be another scene laced into the credits – alas, that was not the case.

While I enjoyed this bleak window into the struggle of life for a teen in France, I’m so frustrated with the ending that it takes away from the rest of it for me. I wouldn’t steer anyone away from this movie, though. I’d just caution that it might leave the viewer feeling a little lost.

Speech Available: French
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore - 85/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.2/10
IMDB Score – 6.9/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: PG-13

Movie Trailer:

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