Thursday, January 19, 2017

WHITE GIRL (2016)



Written & Directed By: Elizabeth Wood 
Cinematography By: Michael Simmonds 
Editor: Michael Taylor 


Cast: Morgan Saylor, Brian Marc, Justin Bartha, Chris Noth, Adrian Martinez, Anthony Ramos, Ralph Rodriguez, India Menuez, Annabelle Dexter-Jones


Summer, New York City. A college girl falls hard for a guy she just met. After a night of partying goes wrong, she goes to wild extremes to get him back.
Elizabeth Wood based this film on journal entries about her own life experiences during her adolescence. The title not only describes the main character of the film but is also the street name for the product that is used throughout this film cocaine.

It’s a coming of age story that is effective as at first she is naïve about selling digs but eventually she learns. Though still seems to be naive about life, the streets and people in general.

Everything throughout this movie is sort of an awakening for her. Though by the end it seems sorry to say she still seems like she might make the same mistakes. Though a little more world weary.

This is one of those films where so much happens it's hard to believe that it has taken place in which a short amount of time.

Starring. Morgan Saylor who some might remember as playing Dana Brody on the series HOMELAND. As one of the main protagonists daughter during it’s first few seasons. This is a brave role where she has to show and do pretty much everything as the camera never leaves her and most scenes Are more of despair.

She is literally naked throughout the film emotionally and physically.

This seems like the type of film that a child actor usually from Disney or nickelodeon or a popular sitcom will star in once they hit a certain age to show that they can play more adult roles and to be seen in a different light. Though will usually say the character spoke to them And they really wanted to show range (Like Anne Hathaway in HAVOC, Vanessa Hudgens in SPRING BREAKERS) sometime it works sometimes it blows up in your face.

The film is powerful as it shows more depravity than success throughout all due it seems more to this addiction, that spawns it's own romance that runs parallel to her addiction. As they both seem to influence and affect each other.

As the film goes on it becomes predictable in a sense as to where her and it might be going. Though still provides a shock when it comes to the acts depicted in screen. By the end of the film you might feel like you have been put through the ringer and need a shower. As the characters might not know where they are going but we In the audience mostly do.

I will give the film points for being cold hearted as much as it is. This is no inspirational tale, It literally gets down and dirty. So much so that it feels so realistic to a degree you are shocked when recognizable actors like Justin Bartha and Chris Noth show up in supporting roles. As it seems to break the audience out of the more naturalistic docudrama we thought we were watching and reminds us this is a film. Though I can honestly say I will never look at Chris Noth the same way after this film. If he wanted to break out of his usual image this was the role that did it.

The film is filled with sex, nudity, drugs that at first you think you will become sided to it it when it comes up again and again it is surprising especially as detailed as those scenes seem.

That is the power of the film is in the detail, because as used to this type of film or at least storyline we might be. The film seems to show it in a more penetrating and effective light.

It also might be because the main character is Caucasian and female that the audience automatically cares about her well being, but also it seems that this kind of story could only be portrayed or happen by that type of character also. Which is what allows her character so much access that even the Hispanic man she is in love with would be close off from or could only flirt with from the fringes.

Only he knows this, she is blind to it as they both intersect and explore each others world that had previously been forbidden for each of them.

This is a film where most of the characters are either unlikeable or so naive that you can't feel anything but a kind of either sympathy for them or believe they don't know any better. As the true victim throughout the film is BLUE, played by Brian Marc as he seems to somewhat know better. It still gets caught up. Even if what he was doing was wrong or illegal in the first place, of course she goes through a lot more and has more happen to her. It all comes more a s a surprise to her which makes it worse.

While the film is filled with characters who appear to be friends and allies. They later reveal themselves to be Predators. Though Adrain Martinez in his most imposing role to date is the obvious presented villain and obstacle.

The film also in it's own way showcases gentrification and the power of white privilege. As the Caucasian characters live by and large in these used to be heavily minority neighborhoods and seem to look at their neighbors as more like wildlife to be looked at and played with more than considered or treated equal.

It also shows the racism that can happen as they deal drugs at mostly downtown parties attended by caucasians as they do seek drugs how many just assume that they do and later on even get violent and throw them out. Even though everyone else is either using or selling out in the open. Just as when they sell it they only make so much but when the title character does. She makes a hell of a lot more money.

That by the end the comparison of the different lives the characters live and will lead for the future is made abundantly clear. Their fates not exactly each other's fault but is caused by their connection.

The film offers it fair amount of surprises as it seems like a scared straight program movie and seems to keep upping the ante from scene to scene. Though that is obviously the intention. While I may have seen films like it before. This film still gave me the chills and caused a reaction and for that it shows it's strength.

Grade: B -

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