18 January 2016

The Dead Girl

The Dead Girl
  • Director: Karen Moncrieff
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Toni Collette, Piper Laurie, Giovanni Ribisi, Rose Byrne, Joany Tomsky, James Franco, Mary Steenburgen, Mary Beth Hurt, Nick Searcy, Marcia Gay Harden, Kerry Washington, Brittany Murphy
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Toni Collette – Fright Night, Little Miss Sunshine, In Her Shoes, The Hours, About a Boy, Changing Lanes, Hotel Splendide, The Sixth Sense, Velvet Goldmine, Muriel’s Wedding
    • Piper Laurie – Dead Like Me, Tim, Carrie
    • Giovanni Ribusi – The Rum Diary, Avatar, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Cold Mountain, Friends, Lost in Translation, Saving Private Ryan, SubUrbia, The X Files
    • Rose Byrne – 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine, Troy, Star Wars Episode II
    • James Franco – 127 Hours, Milk, Spiderman
    • Mary Steenburgen – The Help, Honeydripper, Sunshine State, I Am Sam, Philadelphia, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
    • Mary Beth Hurt – Bringing Out the Dead, Six Degrees of Separation, The Age of Innocence, The World According to Garp
    • Nick Searcy – The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Cast Away, Nell, The Fugitive, Love Field, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Prince of Tides
    • Marcia Gay Harden – The Mist, Into the Wild, Mona Lisa’s Smile, Mystic River, Pollock, Meet Joe Black, The First Wives Club, Miller’s Crossing
    • Kerry Washington – Miracle at St Anna, Ray, The Human Stain, The United States of Leland
    • Brittany Murphy – 8 Mile, Riding in Cars with Boys, Girl Interrupted
  • Why? Toni Collette
  • Seen:  16 January 2016      

       Now and then we watch a film knowing nothing about it. I bought this one because Toni Collette is in it. That’s usually reason enough to watch a film.
       As it is this time, though she’s not in it long. In the first scene we see her, haggard, repressed, glum. And she finds the dead body. Her life is already grim and isolated. She takes care of her nasty mother on an isolated farm. She flees her cruel mother and meets with a man she met at the supermarket who shows a morbid interest in the dead girl. A bizarre unhealthy relationship ensues.
       Switch to a new story. Leah. Her sister has been missing for years. Can the dead girl be her? She believes so. She hopes so. But it’s not so. Leah sinks back into her chronic depression.
       Third story. Ruth. Aging religious put-upon wife of a philandering husband. She finds evidence that her husband is the killer of many missing girls. She destroys the evidence.
       Fourth story. The dead girl’s mother. Who learns things about her daughter and husband she doesn’t want to know.
       Fifth story. The dead girl herself.
       It’s a family drama, a psychological thriller, a character study, a portrait of violence against women. It’s a strange, complex and suspenseful film, well done, heavy going. It’s a film that should be seen but it’s not an easy one to love.

4 * of 5

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