REVIEW: Girlhood

24 02 2015

GirlhoodWriter/director Céline Sciamma’s third feature bears the title “Bande de Filles” in its native French tongue, which translates roughly to band (or group) of girls.  Yet the English release of the film gives it this name: “Girlhood.”  The title seems not only ill-fitting but also begging for immediate foiling against Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.”

Such a comparison is facile and does a disservice to Sciamma’s wonderfully observed film.  She does not aim to provide a wide-ranging snapshot of female youth.  “Girlhood” is less about one girl, be she specific or a stand-in for all women, and more about gendered group dynamics filtered through the experience of the protagonist, Marieme (Karidja Touré).  Sciamma’s work does resemble many other great films, however.

“Girlhood” recalls Tina Fey’s insightful script for “Mean Girls,” which also focuses on a troublemaking quartet of girls.  Both depict the ways in which either one person can set the tone for an entire group – or a paralysis of groupthink can conduct the unit.  Perhaps the most memorable scene in “Girlhood,” save a lip-sync rendition of “Diamonds” by Rhianna, occurs when the clique encounters a former member who was exiled when she became pregnant.  Group identity is everything for these adolescent girls, until it is nothing.

“Girlhood” recalls Catherine Hardwicke’s hard-hitting “Thirteen,” an intense drama that follows two taboo-shattering teen girls down a rabbit hole of drug abuse and promiscuity.  Admittedly, this connection is more superficial.  Sciamma shows her main characters committing some questionable acts, but they do not necessarily define them as people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements




What To Look Forward To: January 2015

4 01 2015

Inherent ViceI haven’t used this category of post in almost three years, so I figure it’s due for a good dusting off.  Here, I’ll give you a sense of what I’ll be up to this month at “Marshall and the Movies” and what might be cooking at a theater near you.

F.I.L.M. of the Week

You might have already noticed (that’s doubtful), but I have chosen to move my long-running “F.I.L.M. of the Week” column from Friday to Thursday.  The decision was manifold.  First, I wanted to take advantage of #tbt opportunities on Facebook.  Second, I needed the space on Friday to run reviews of new releases, which are often embargoed until opening day.  I look forward to bringing the same underseen or underrated titles to your attention on a new day!

Paul Thomas Anderson

I hinted last month that I would post a recap of the “On Cinema” that I heard PTA give, but I wound up focusing all my efforts on finishing all my 2014 reviews.  That and a ranked filmography will be coming next week to celebrate the release of “Inherent Vice.”

Tina and AmyGolden Globes Live Blog

One last hurrah for Tina and Amy!  I’ll be typing my thoughts the whole time.

Sundance Spotlight

The year always gets an injection of fresh energy from the outset thanks to Sundance, the American festival committed to highlighting new voices in the world of independent film.  To run parallel with the 2015 festival, I will be publishing a daily review of a film that came out of Sundance – both the good and the bad.

A Most Violent Year

Finally, I can share my thoughts – January 30, unless A24 changes their minds.

In theaters

I am SO stoked for “American Sniper” on January 16.  Holy cow.

In terms of actual January releases, though, the film that most intrigues me is “Girlhood.”

It’s going to be a good month (I hope!) – what are YOU looking forward to?