God Help the Girl (2014 Sundance capsule)

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<i>God Help the Girl</i> (2014 Sundance capsule)

As the masterful pop songsmith behind Belle and Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch has always shown a flare for storytelling. His songs are filled with outcasts and rebels eager to take on the world, or at least find a little peace in it. So it’s only natural that his musical film is at once madcap and melancholy.

The film takes place over a summer in which two young women and one young man chase the idea of being in a band. Emily Browning has a magnetic screen presence as a mentally troubled would-be pop sensation trying to figure out what it all means, and Olly Alexander and Hannah Murray serve nicely as her friends.

Murdoch sometimes resorts to an overly literal representation of his lyrics and isn’t as judicious as he ought to be with cutaway gags. But he has an energetic spark. He imbues the film with pure fun and a sort of nostalgia for the present. Life won’t ever be perfect, but there is perhaps a moment of perfection just waiting to be achieved, if only the we would grab it.

Director: Stuart Murdoch
Writer: Stuart Murdoch
Starring: Emily Browning, Hannah Murray, Olly Alexander, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bisset
Production Details: Barry Mendel Productions, 111 minutes

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