Now complete: The Dissolve's 2014 Movies To See Checklist
God Help the Girl
Eve is a catastrophe—low on self-esteem but high on fantasy, especially when it comes to music. Over the course of one Glasgow summer, she meets two similarly rootless souls: posh Cass and fastidious James, and together they form a group.
like THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT remade as a twee Glaswegian John Hughes movie. it'll be *too* twee for some people, but thank god i'm not one of them. i loved every shaggy second of this plotless, ramshackle pop musical (it helps that i'm rather fond of the actual music).
and Emily Browning... dream waif. somewhat uncomfortable that this unexpected but admirably blunt anorexia story features so many incredible costumes that just *beg* viewers to slim into them.
God fucking help me more like. I had reservations about this because I'm pretty anti-twee cunts but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway because its something different and I don't really mind B&S.
At least the songs are good? I mean Emily Browning is good, but she always is, but I got better things to give a shit about than twee posh wettys pissing around, you know? There's no depth here, there's an attempt to shoehorn some ~serious issues~ in but for real, this film would be better if it was just unabashed, shallow indie pop cuntery and was done with it.
Also why is this nearly TWO HOURS long, get a grip.
I think I'll stick with Coppola's for my pretty dresses and cute faces and no depth and a COMPLETE LACK OF DIVERSITY t h a n k s.
At some point about halfway through the film I found myself asking the screen in front of me, “What is this film even about?” There are two different films playing. One is a story (though a very incoherent one) of a young women suffering from anorexia finding her way back into the world through music. And then there is a collection of music videos about charming young people doing charming things. The only relation between the two is that the same characters are in them, but thematically and narratively they have nothing to do with each other. This is a film that you could fall asleep for a good portion of, and not miss anything of importance.
The plot follows…
A musical dramatization of the album written by its director for his band Belle & Sebastian.
Strangely, all the shaggy, “first movie” problems the film inherently suffers from – which would in most cases grate – add to the film’s charm. Though the whole thing might be too cutesy for some.
Admittedly, this perspective on the film is not exactly singular.
I love Belle and Sebastian. I love romantic comedies / dramas. I love movies that are twee and earnest, and I'm not opposed to musicals. So why didn't I love this? Well, it's a little stiff. It's clearly a first feature, and Stuart Murdoch, writer / director / frontman of Belle and Sebastian has some trouble integrating the music. The dialogue scenes are a little stilted and he doesn't quite have a handle on the tone of the film, rendering it quite clunky in places. But I still liked it. It's charming and fun, and how often do modern day musical coming of age romances come along? If it's reach exceeds its grasp, the reach is still admirable, and the grasp is enough.
Pointless, but good. The film is basically a hipster's wet dream. With sweet melancholic pretentiously-honest indie songs, an old-fashion look and reasonably interesting characters the movie is intentionally irresistibly charming. Like Belle & Sebastian though, there's not much meaningful feeling behind all the charm.
Twee as shit, but I liked it a lot.
Hard to criticise this on the grounds of being too twee because, well, it's a film directed by Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, what were you expecting. The problem here is that it's all a little too muddled and sincere. That said, it does come across as an earnest first effort and I guess that's honourable enough.
If you like Belle and Sebastian and aren't put off by a bit of pretentiousness, then this is for you.
If it were led by anyone else then I probably wouldn't have liked this either, but Emily Browning is super talented and we need to see a lot more of her, and Olly Alexander (the lead singer of Years & Years) is beautiful.
I wasn't bothered about the story, which avoided a lot of the seriousness around its characters, but the songs were excellent and the leads, again, are incredibly talented.
It's an incredibly 'quirky' film, which really feels like a playlist of music videos, but they are well directed and performed music videos nonetheless.
God, I love twee pretense.
Stuart Murdoch's musical is a bipolar film that captures the fleeting electricity and storminess of youth. The best parts are effervescent and endlessly charming with Emily Browning and the rest of the cast delivering performances and pop songs infused with the boundless energy and passions of the young - love (of course), the time when music is such a vital, essential part of life, and warm days spent in the company of friends that you never want to end.
Perhaps because these parts of the film are so good, the other part of the film doesn't come off as well. It seeks to delve into some of the darker aspects of youth; depression, fragile self-worth, and rejection, but isn't always able to make these scenes mesh tonally with the lighthearted joy we've just watched. Even so, this is still pretty wonderful and provides another step forward for the modern musical film.
i liked this movie. a lot more than i hoped. but thing is i don't know why. it's naïve and some parts just don't make sense, but overall is a beautiful well told story about becoming oneself. if you are you, you can't go wrong. except for that swiss guy, the cast does a very good job.
Incredibly self indulgent, but in a good way...I think?
Just because a film draws on many aspects of the filmmakers life doesn't make it a bad film. There's much to love in God Help the Girl, however there is much to dislike as well.
I couldn't help feeling that the female characters of Eve and Cassie were constructs of what a man feels like a woman or girl should be. Eve has problems, yes, but I never felt we were getting to the real meat and bones of it. It was as if all her drama was seen through the filter of James, a filter that is kind of biter, self-righteous and strangely patronising.
During one of the many songs…
Entirely depends on how much you like Sturt Murdoch and/or Belle & Sebastian, and his overwhelmingly twee, heart-on-the-sleeve, wordy tendencies. Well, I happen to be susceptible to those “charms”, and while this movie isn’t going to move mountains, or, really, convert anybody who doesn’t like Belle & Sebastian, there is a sort of bittersweet wish-fulfillment fantasy going on here that I just bring myself to come down on. But I can definitely see why someone would hate this.
As with many musicals, a focus on song and style attempts to cover up deficiencies in script and pacing/continuity, but it all works well enough as a kind of dreamy teen angst (though I'm pretty sure they were all in their twenties?) melodrama with acoustic guitars and cutesy melodies and breathy vocals. There's not much plot and what there is isn't developed effectively, but hey, I'm gonna go off and listen to the soundtrack and probably forget that as a whole this was kind of mediocre. Although also I'm starting to think I just don't really care for Emily Browning? Unsure.
Movies about/starring women. I originally started this list just as a reference for myself, but hopefully others will find it…