God Help the Girl (film)
God Help the Girl is a 2014 British musical romantic drama film written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian. It follows three friends who form a band in Glasgow. The film was preceded by an album of the same name released in 2009. It received mixed reviews.
|God Help the Girl|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stuart Murdoch|
|Produced by||Barry Mendel|
|Written by||Stuart Murdoch|
|Edited by||David Arthur|
Eve escapes from the psychiatric hospital where she is being treated for anorexia nervosa and makes her way to Glasgow, hoping to become a musician. At a gig, she meets James, a lifeguard and aspiring songwriter. He introduces her to his guitar student Cassie, and the three become friends.
Eve meets Anton, the arrogant singer of Wobbly-Legged Rat, a Glasgow band attracting attention from a local radio station. She gives him a tape of her music to pass on and they begin seeing each other.
James convinces Eve she needs bass and drums to finish her songs. They and Cassie form a band, God Help the Girl, with some local musicians. Anton admits he never gave Eve's tape to the radio producers, saying she needs better production and musicianship, and they argue.
James discovers Eve's relationship with Anton and becomes distanced from her. Feeling alone, Eve takes drugs and returns to hospital. She tells James she plans to attend music college in London, and they reconcile. After God Help the Girl performs their final concert, the radio station plays Eve's tape. The next day, she leaves for London.
God Help the Girl premiered in-competition in the "World Cinema Dramatic Competition" at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on 18 January 2014. It opened the Generations section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on 9 February 2014.
God Help the Girl received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 68% of 72 reviews have given the film a positive review, with an average score of 5.76/10. The site's consensus reads: "While it may strike harder-hearted viewers as excessively twee, God Help the Girl floats by on its sweet charm and talented cast".
Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote that God Help the Girl "is a slender exercise in self-conscious charm." David Fear of Esquire praised it as "rife with the kind of giddy thrills and hormonal flushes you associate with being a teen." Jonathan Romney of Film Comment Magazine said that "it's easy to categorize Murdoch's film as a vanity project, but if it is, it's a very honest one." David D'Arcy of Screen International said the film "has a soft whimsy that connects to a time before video clips put editing rhythms into overdrive." Xan Brooks of the Guardian gave the three out of five stars, writing: "It's warm and generous, verging on the sentimental; a film that crystallises the best and worst of Belle and Sebastian's songwriting skills." In Vulture, Nathan Rabin named the film one of 10 Sundance movies that "should have been hits", writing: "Murdoch has long been an extraordinarily cinematic songwriter, with a gift for conjuring up melancholy worlds with his words and music. With God Help the Girl, he proves to be a predictably literary and musical filmmaker ... God Help the Girl represents the perfect cinematic representation of Belle and Sebastian’s worldview, which, depending on your opinion of the group, is either high praise or a terrific reason to stay away."
Leslie Felperin of the Guardian gave the film two out of five stars and called it "disastrous, fatally flawed by a shoddy script and poor direction, like something made by the most ostensibly talented guy at art school ... It's not funny or clever, or even musically very interesting. It's just bad." Rodrigo Perez of Indiewire wrote: "A major gaffe, God Help The Girl finds a great artist taking on a huge challenge and stumbling painfully on its ambition almost every step of the way." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "an indie musical that feels like one long B-side."
Sarah Sahim, writing for Pitchfork, called the film "an egregious mess" that romanticizes eating disorders, and criticised the film's lack of racial diversity as "a microcosmic view of what is wrought by racial exclusivity that is omnipresent in indie rock." Murdoch responded to Sahim's article on Twitter, writing: "God knows I've yearned to know and love women and men of many nations, but being a poor sick white boy from Scotland has dashed my ambitions."
|2014||Sundance Film Festival||World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic||Stuart Murdoch||Nominated|
|World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award (Ensemble)||Emily Browning
|Berlin International Film Festival||Crystal Bear||Stuart Murdoch||Nominated|
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- Sahim, Sarah (25 March 2015). "The Unbearable Whiteness of Indie". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "Stuart Murdoch Responds to Article on Racism in Indie Rock: "Aw, F*ck Off" - Digital Music News". 26 March 2015.
- "Sundance: 'Whiplash' & 'Rich Hill' Win Grand Jury Awards; Dramatic Directing Goes To Cutter Hodierne For 'Fishing Without Nets'". Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "'Whiplash' Owns the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Awards Netting Two Top Prizes". Retrieved 26 January 2014.