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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was expecting "The Girl" to be mired in the stereotypical contrast of
poverty-stricken Mexico vs. the wealthy United States with the
protagonist Ashley (Abbie Cornish) coming to make a living off the
misery of others, in a manner similar to that of a drug-dealer.
My low expectations were thankfully confounded. Instead I was pulled into the evolution of the protagonist as she gets too close to the people who want to cross the border to be an effectual cold-hearted "coyote".
Abbie Cornish's portrayal of a poor, white woman bred on low-grade racism is totally credible. But this is only a starting point for her character, as she travels on an emotional journey in Mexico which comes to mirror her life in Texas, but allows her to become something more than she was.
Watching this movie by myself, I heard my own voice saying "oh my god", is not that I am religious or so but that is the kind of emotion that this film gives. It makes you feel and think, how irrelevant is the color of your skin or the place where you were born; it gives us a reminder about the consequences of our everyday acts. And unless you are a privileged individual who never has experience the partial or total loss of someone you love, then this movie will mean nothing to you, otherwise you will feel angriness, sadness and despair because of the convincing and compelling performances and situation of this young mother and this little girl. Less manipulative than "la misma luna" "Under the Same Moon" (2007), don't misunderstand me, I loved that movie, but "The girl" is a more tragic experience, in a different level than "A Better Life" (2011) One line that stuck with me was: "Just drop her at the corner and don't look back" How hard can that be on real life? What would you do? "The Girl" is one of the reasons I watch movies from all over the world and this one is very close to home, my first language is Spanish. Certainly I did not have idea of whom Maritza Santiago Hernandez is but after this movie I can say that, she has a talent that deserves to be recognized and appreciated and Abbie Cornish gets redemption after the awful "Sucker Punch", she does an incredible job and she could have fool me into believing that she has been speaking Spanish her whole life! Cinephiles get ready for this one!
I had no opinions or expectation on this film. It all started out with a crush on Abbie Cornish, but I ended up with a great deal of respect for her acting (and her Spanish) in this film. She showed a side of her that I had never seen before, but more importantly the film (and Abbie) made me aware of the culture on both sides of the Rio. The film starts with a sharp edge on the Texas side of the river, proceeds into a learning phase for me and Abbie/Ashley, and finally it softens and becomes a touching film on the Mexico side. Ashley is a much better person at the end of the film than the beginning - I hope that this is not considered a spoiler. I recommend this film wholeheartedly.
As I started watching The Girl (2012), from the beginning scenes it absorbed me in itself, letting me lose my control over things as an outside observer but rather float inside the story observing it directly as a third person inside the screen; I enjoyed that very much. Abbie Cornish portraits elegance and delicacy of a woman in this movie as she did in Bright Star (2009) prior to this, and features perfect sense of motherhood as she did in Candy (2006) in the scene of miscarrying the baby, but here more sophisticated. She plays Ashley, a single mother who is in danger of losing her nearly five year old son named Georgie to a woman named Gloria who can't have kids and at the moment is fostering him and according to Ashley has a plan of adopting him like the two other kids that she has already fostered and then adopted. She is from San Antonio-Texas. She can't afford a proper house and lives in a trailer. Her salary is so low and the raise she was supposed to get after three months working in a convenience store which now is turning to a year, was dismissed; "You didn't get a raise because of your attitude", says Mr. Chavez, the manager. But as the movie goes on we find out that she has no attitude and is so modest and responsible. Ashley has no money and to win in the court, she has to prove to CPS (Child Protective Services) that she is eligible to take care of her son. In a surprise visit, Ashley's father shows up on her door step and when he finds her daughter sad asks her to go and celebrate with him in Mexico. He even goes further and gives her money to buy her son a set swing claiming that he's been on lucky street in his work but later she finds that her dad is a human trafficker. In spite of despising her father for that, in an act of desperation, Ashley starts trafficking Mexicans to Austin-Texas herself. She is a beginner and doesn't know that in order to cross the river they will need inner tubes which leads to the loss of Rosa's mother, a stubborn young girl who blames Ashley for loss of her mother and claims searching for her. Looking through the drown people in police station, Ashley finds out that Rosa's mother is dead which makes her to feel more responsible for the girl. Her maternal sense doesn't allow her to hand the girl over to the strangers. She even tries to postpone her court to find her family. Rosa has no family but a grandmother in the middle of nowhere in a beautiful mountain land. I never knew Mexico had such an amazing green landscapes; it seemed a trip to heaven for me. There are scenes of desperation and poverty in the movie which made me sympathize with the Latino America, but no sympathy seems better than splitting out the word "God damn" which Ashley did after she took a through look around and saw the misery in people's looks. Ashley smokes a lot and in her definition of "Stressed" she regards it as one of being adult effects. That may be true in some senses. Her face though, is a dictionary of the word, "Stress". However, most of the times she manages it in a wise manner with her responsible choices and acceptance. Inner struggles of a mother with her conscience over a responsibility of a child and trying to win her own child back has perfectly, beautifully, and purely been pictured in this movie and what is the most mind capturing feature is combining it with natural sounds around and sometimes letting silence tell the story which is what David Riker as the director has certainly been successful at.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was a wonderful film that stirred the heart but that ultimately
did not complete the 'karma' that was called for (see the film.)
Ashley's predicament is fairly typical of many Americans who feel that
the system is stacked against them failing to see the inherent flaws in
their character that is the true cause of their problems. The cast was
spot-on in their acting especially Ashley (Abbie Cornish)and Rosa
(Maritza Hernandez.) They carried the film and Rosa just about breaks
your heart whenever the pixie is on screen.
The two points that really stayed with me though after viewing the film were:
1.The scale of the desperation that drives people to extreme and dangerous measures to escape the grinding poverty that is overwhelming and that destroys families. The hollow resigned faces of the people attempting to cross into the U.S. are haunting. And...
2. The lack of a fitting resolution to the problem created by Ashley's actions. She owed Rosa much more.
I don't think I put any information that might be considered a spoiler but since I'm new to writing reviews, I checked the spoiler box just in case. But to sum up, I really enjoyed this film for it's realism and the excelsior performance by the actors.
Horridly misleading synopsis. More to the point: A poor Texas woman,
about to lose her son to social services, tries to smuggle Mexicans
across the border for $4000 and becomes morally responsible for the
small girl left behind.
A poignant story of mixed emotions, futility and hope, from both sides of the event. I agree with Box Office Magazine when they say "Abbie Cornish gives the most impressive performance of her career."
Every site on which I post reviews has consistently found the above an example of "helpful" (acceptable) information and opinion. I cannot see where ten lines of babbling fluff are required over five lines of succinct information. If IMDb finds me too offensive to print, then I have no problem with not printing for them.
Ashley (Abbie Cornish) is a poor Texan mother who loses custody of her
son after a drunk driving incident. She desperately wants her son back
from foster care. Her father Tommy (Will Patton) lives on the Mexican
side of Loredo. She discovers that he traffics illegals over the
border. While over in Mexico, she tries to organize a crossing for $500
per person. However the group gets swept away. She's left with a little
girl whose mother drowned. Her father's advise is to simply walk away.
Director/writer David Riker's story is a simplified idea culminating in what exactly Ashley will do with the girl. The movie depends mostly on Abbie Cornish's performance. She's very stone-faced in most of this movie. I see the frustrated 'stressed' woman that she's portraying. It's a very subtle performance although a few additional animated scenes would be great. The combative little girl is done well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the worst movies I have ever watched and believe me I have watched tones of them! Very simple and shallow scenario with tremendous lack of depth. I really wonder why they even bother to invest money and release such movies! It is very repetitive and nothing new was introduced. If someone have never watched a drama movie, maybe can find this one acceptable but if someone have watched some really good drama movies, then this one is really terrible. Just a waste of time! The acting of the main actor is OK but the scenario is quite simple. I consider this movie as a missed chance, because at the beginning it looked interesting and I thought that it had a potential to be a nice drama but after the first 20 minutes it becomes very repetitive and then you wait until the end of the movie for something new, sudden to happen, something to change the plot...but nothing, just nothing! and then you watch the credits thinking of the wasted time...
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