The world is closing in on Greta Driscoll. On the cusp of turning fifteen she can't bear to leave her childhood, it contains all the things that give her comfort in this incomprehensible new world. She floats in a bubble of loserdom with her only friend Elliott, until her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and she's flung into a parallel place; a world that's weirdly erotic, a little bit violent and thoroughly ludicrous - only there can she find herself. Based on the critically acclaimed production by Windmill Theatre, GIRL ASLEEP is a journey into the absurd, scary and beautiful heart of the teenage mind.
"Girl Asleep" (2015 release from Australia; 77 min.) brings the story of Greta, who is almost 15 yrs. old. As the movie opens, we are informed that it is "First Day, New School" and we see Greta trying to fit in. She is approached by geeky Elliot, who takes an immediate liking to her. After school, we get to know Greta's family (her goofy dd, her controlling mom, and her rebellious older sister). When mom decides that Greta should have a big birthday party, Greta is mortified at first, but then gives in. The day of the birthday party arrives... To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is unlike anything that I have seen in a long time. It's both a coming of age movie as it is a fantasy movie. How so? Because midway into the movie, the movie takes a left, then a right, and then another left and ends up going back-and-forth between the birthday party and Greta's dreams when she nods off during the party. Doesn't make sense to you? No worries, mate! Just go with the flow. There is a long scene during the party where Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" blasts away and the entire group is dancing in unison to the song. Perfect! (The movie is set sometime in the 70s, so this fits in nicely). There are some wonderful performances from this no-start cast, notably Bethany Whitmore in the role of Greta. I noticed in the end credits that the movie is based on a theater play. I can't even imagine what that must've been like, but the movie certainly didn't feel like a staged play. Bottom line: the movie rolls by in no time, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
"Girl Asleep" opened this weekend without any pre-release fanfare or advertising at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. I really didn't know anything about the movie, and simply took a flyer on it. So glad I did. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so, which didn't surprise me, given the lack of marketing or buzz around this film. A darn shame, if you ask me. Sometimes it's nice to be surprised with a movie the likes of which you don't get to see very often. If you are in the mood for something very different that is charming, quirky and funny, I'd readily suggest you seek out this movie, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. "Girl Asleep" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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