The Exploding Girl
is a movie starring
Zoe Kazan, Mark Rendall, and Maryann Urbano.
On a summer break from college, a young epileptic woman struggles to balance her feelings for her fledgling boyfriend while her friend Al crashes with her for the season.
A tragedy presents Laurel with the chance to reinvent herself as her idolized twin sister, Audrey. As she eases into the life she has always wanted, she must decide between continuing the lie or revealing herself as the perfect fraud.
Captures a generational moment - young people on the cusp of truly growing up, tiring of their reflexive cynicism, each in their own ways struggling to connect and define what it means to love and be loved.
Two seemingly unconnected souls from different corners of the United States make a telepathic bond that allows them to see, hear and feel the other's experiences, creating a bond that apparently can't be broken.
Zak is a smart, good-looking nice guy whose heretofore charmed life starts coming apart as his longtime romance with Samantha, a painter whom he finds increasingly intimidating, begins to ... See full summary »
Jeffrey K. Miller,
The strained relationship of an engaged Brooklyn couple, Theo (Chris Messina) and Nat (Rashida Jones). Theo is bored with his job as a wedding photographer-the generic backgrounds, the ... See full summary »
Wallace, who is burned out from a string of failed relationships, forms an instant bond with Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend. Together, they puzzle out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life.
Four struggling actors retreat to a cabin in Big Bear, California in order to write a screenplay that will make them all stars. Problem is: What happens when their story idea -- a horror ... See full summary »
The title of the film is a play on a song (The Exploding Boy) which was on the b-side of the single "In Between Days" by The Cure. "In Between Days" had been used by the director and his wife as a title to a previous movie and so they decided to adapt "The Exploding Boy" to The Exploding Girl for the purpose of this film (as explained by the director himself on 14th Nov 2009 at the 50th International Film Festival of Thessaloníki, Greece). See more »
I don't like "movies" shot on video, and this one is no exception. Its semi-improvised dialog was also a barrier to appreciation, as well as the fledgling director's pretentious approach to photography.
Except for interiors, nearly all the barely-edited shots are long shots using very shallow focus - a technique I thought went out in the '60s. The cast's conversations are shot as if using a hidden camera (the hi-def RED camera is used here), from across the street with intervening cars or pedestrians frequently blocking the principals from our view. Add to that protagonist Mark Rendall's speech impediment (I counted him stating the word "like" 25 times in less than a minute) and you have distancing of the viewer taken to the extreme.
Our heroine played OK enough by Zoe Kazan (she won a dubious Best Actress award from the lowliest of film festivals, the must-miss Tribeca event, which doesn't even take place in Tribeca anymore) remains a blank. She's an epileptic and sure enough, has too many beers, causing a seizure late in the film, but I didn't find that potential disability handled with any insight or relevance to the surrounding film. The story's emphasis on her also was a drag; it reminded me of that Golden Age of porno (now several decades back) when one sometimes experienced a horrific moment, usually during the second or third reel, of realization: "We're going to be stuck looking at this solitary girl for the whole movie!".
Mercifully short, about 75 minutes after removing the slow-slow padding of the end credits, the feature had only two good scenes: one rooftop checking out the pet pigeons that starts as a too-obvious homage to Zoe's grandpa Elia Kazan (classic Saint/Brando scene from ON THE WATERFRONT) and ends up improbably as a Werner Herzog homage, capturing the strange abstract patterns created by flocks of birds in formation that was the signature image of Werner's 2004 film THE WHITE DIAMOND. The other scene I enjoyed was a simple finale ring shot of the hero & heroine asleep in the backseat of a car, unconsciously clasping their hands together.
Low points were a "gee whiz" visit to a SoHo building supposedly once the site of Nikola Tesla's shop -like so many Manhattan non-landmarks it looks like nothing now; and the endless use of cell phones, one of which permitted an entire performance (Zoe's heel of a boyfriend Greg) to be literally phoned in. I am also nominating THE EXPLODING GIRL as the feature film with the lowest costume budget in recent history: it looks like they spent about $3.95 for the heroine's and hero's rumpled, slept-in crappy outfits; ditto ALL the extras (who obviously wore theirs from home).
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