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A teenage girl, distraught from her vain attempt to connect with her estranged mother, resorts to cutting herself. When she develops an online relationship with an older woman, she learns to accept her sexuality and the endless solitude of sprawling suburbia. Written by
"Ashley (2013)" is an independent film directed by Dean Matthew Ronalds. It stars the young model/actor Nicole Fox in the title role. Ashley is a troubled teenager--depressed and lonely. She's a lesbian, and this causes bullying and harassment at school. Her father is dead and her mother is an alcoholic, who continues to make bad decisions in her choice of men.
It's not surprising that Ashley is a "cutter." Self-injury with knives or broken glass is fairly common among adolescent girls. It's not life-threatening, but it's a sign of significant mental health problems. (Ashley has a school therapist who tries to help her, but Ashley is very, very hard to reach.)
We learn all this in the opening scenes of the movie. The remainder of the film follows Ashley's progress for the next few weeks at school, home, and in and around Los Angeles. Life is hard for Ashley, but she is intelligent, resilient, and tough. It's hard to tell if these qualities can outweigh the bad aspects of Ashley's past and present life.
As another reviewer has pointed out, Nicole Fox has real acting ability. She is so attractive that it's easy to assume that no one will care if she can or can't act. She can act, and it's worth seeing the movie just to watch her performance.
We saw this film at its premiere sponsored by Rochester's excellent High Falls Film Festival. However, it will work well enough on DVD. As I write this review, the movie has a ridiculously low IMDb weighted rating of 4.5. However, if you look at the ratings, you'll see that more than 50% of people gave the film a rating of 10, 9, or 8. It's true that the movie received a fair number of 1 ratings. Even so, the weighting system has broken down in the case of this very good film. Don't be frightened away by the abysmal rating. This movie is worth seeking out and watching.
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