by A.R. Solar
The content war among streaming services rages, and you have to be a sharpshooter to find a good movie amidst the carnage these days. Enter the 2020 release, and Bella Thorne (“Big Love”) vehicle, Girl (wherein the filmmakers were too lazy to even name the main character).
The first feature by Canadian writer/director/supporting actor Chad Faust, it centers on a twenty-something millennial who has some unfinished business with her estranged father. Faust’s main concern seems to have been keeping the action moving along, and in that he succeeds. Elsewhere—in plot, dialogue, suspense, characterization, photography, and editing—the effort and resulting work falter badly.
At this point, one might think the hatchet-wielding “girl” might make for a fine protagonist in an enjoyable B-movie. Unfortunately, that would be wishful thinking. Girl, the movie, takes itself way too seriously. In a scene where Thorne’s movie-mother reminds her brusquely that she worked hard and made the girl “spaghetti and chicken pies,” the dialogue almost gets into venerated so-bad-it’s-good territory. But, ultimately Faust—perhaps encouraged by his own and Thorne’s serviceable acting—stands pat and tries to hoist the film onto a thought-provoking, psychological thriller pedestal where it has no rightful business.
I’m always curious as to how a script like this gets made. Did Faust make an irresistible pitch to Thorne, who also got an executive producer credit? Both have respectable pedigrees in television acting with some experience in movies. Thorne’s sex appeal—she made her directorial debut with the X-rated film Her & Him (2019)—might also have influenced financiers to put up the total of about $1 million. Whatever the deals were, the producers and filmmakers set themselves too low a bar for a serious movie and too high a bar for B-movie schlock.
the international CRITIQUE rating: