Twee Orgy

Belle and Sebastian’s lead singer makes a, huh, good movie

by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

god help the girl

god-posterGod Help the Girl
Dec. 11-14
RPL Film Theatre
3.5/5

You don’t have to like Belle and Sebastian to enjoy God Help the Girl, but it certainly helps. Written and directed by the Scottish band’s lead singer Stuart Murdoch, the film shares the group’s soulful, melancholic spirit. It’s also a musical and there isn’t a song that would be out of place in a B&S record.

In a perfect world, audiences would eat this up instead of Into the Woods.

God Help the Girl does a bang-up job portraying artistically inclined youth defined by the negative space around it: They only know what they don’t want to become. The focus of attention is Eve (Emily Browning, never better), a girl with emotional issues and an eating disorder serious enough to land her in a psychiatric hospital. Eve is in denial of the severity of her condition, and doesn’t take her long to escape.

Pretty as a Renaissance painting, it’s not hard for Eve to find shelter with James, a geeky wannabe musician nursing a hopeless crush. Alongside high-schooler Cassie, the trio tries their hand at pop music composition. It’s an idyllic summer, but real life cannot be denied: Bad boyfriends, the music business and Eve’s condition are bound to make an appearance.

God Help the Girl has a dreamy look, perfectly appropriate for kids at the edge of adulthood. The film has a hipster quality (few fugitives have Eve’s wardrobe budget), but it’s so effortlessly put together it’s not as repellent as, say, your average Zach Braff output. At times, the dialogue feels thicker than molasses, but some truths embedded in it are particularly sharp.

Leave the cynicism at home (it’s a musical, after all), and feel the warmth.

2014-12-11