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A comedic story of the search for identity and the redemptive power of unexpected friendship. Danielle is the dirty girl of Norman High School. When Danielle's misbehavior gets her banished to special ed, she teams up with an innocent closet-case and together they head out on a road trip to discover each other and themselves through a funny and serendipitous friendship. Written by
The film heavily features the music of Melissa Manchester, as Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) is a big fan. The song "Rainbird" was actually co-written by Manchester and Mary Steenburgen, who plays Clarke's mother. See more »
On the morning that Danielle and Clarke leave for California, Danielle wakes Clarke up and he asks her where she wants to eat breakfast then says he thinks "Sambo's" takes credit cards. Sambo's closed the last of its locations (excluding the original) in 1982, five years before the film was supposed to take place. See more »
I've heard it said that this here... this here's a man's world. And some girls, they believe it. Primpin' and fussin' and holdin' out, hoping a boy will look her way. They don't know they got the power. As for me... I'm not that kind of girl. I'm on top. Which begs the question... if the girl's on top, well... who's the one getting screwed?... So if it's a man's world, God wouldn't have made me.
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I liked "Dirty Girl" because it was unabashedly fun. It was pro-gay rights, pro-female independence, and anti-religious persecution without it being about any of that. On the surface it was an '80s throwback with the teen kids embracing the "anything goes" attitude while their parents clung to their conservative values. Pack a suitcase, pop in a mixed tape and run away.
Juno Temple stars as the titular dirty girl, Danielle. She assumed the role of the rebellious daughter and the inappropriate student who relished any opportunity to be the sex symbol. The whole-heartedness with which Temple became Danielle not only made this type of person acceptable but empathetic too.
This isn't to say that the film was perfect. One of the big drawbacks was that although the lead character did evolve, she did so with incongruent leaps. My other issue was that whenever Danielle and her companion Clarke had to stop and sing, the film stopped too. That could be on purpose though since they do seem to be trying to sell the soundtrack just as much as the movie itself.
It's the movie itself, though, that I liked. It was the passion that all of the characters had for life that just danced off the screen. The societal lessons that important movies try to teach and which we all probably already know, are just silly, feel-good bonuses here since they came up with new, more realistic, and more relatable endings. Wait for Clarke's reaction to his final circumstances if at any point you fear the monotonous drone of melodrama.
"Dirty Girl" does bring to mind similar better movies which walked parallel paths, most notably "Jolene". And although after watching this, I immediately came home and bought the latter, it should still be able to find its place among accepting fans. It moves along at a quick pace, keeping the lead characters delightful even when they're depressed, and keeping the tone light even when the supporting characters commit some pretty heinous acts. I've never had a problem enjoying those types of conflicting scenes, but it does account for the movie's poor reception.
Keep in mind that this is writer and director Abe Sylvia's first film and that the archetypal characters can actually belong to any decade then you should have no problem enjoying, and secretly wanting to be, the dirty girl.
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