The Girl in the Book (2015) Poster

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A down to earth look at a serious topic that's not talked about enough.
subxerogravity15 December 2015
It's a basic story about a much older many who commits statutory rape on a teenage girl when he seduces her. I saw a movie earlier this year called Return to Sender which I thought did a good job explaining the lasting effects of rape and I think this movie does the same thing as the lead character grows up to become a woman whose relationships with men are clearly lead but this one particular moment, and it's not healthy. Making the situation worse is the the man who did this to her used the experience to write his most successful novel.

I was expecting more of a odd love story of forbidden romance going into the film, like a romantic comedy version of the first season of Californication, which has a similar but different plot. What it is in reality is a serious look about a girl who reached out to a stranger because her dad was too into his self to see her, and ended up becoming this creepy man's prey.

From my perspective, I saw a well done look at the profile of a woman effected by sexual abuse and how she deals with it. Well done.
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Can Be a Difficult Watch
larrys321 March 2016
Emily VanCamp is excellent here starring as Alice, a self-destructive young woman working as an editor for a book publisher, in NYC. Her boss (Jordan Lage) discounts her abilities, and really just wants her to be his personal secretary. Her father (Michael Cristofer), a literary agent. is an overbearing and boorish slimeball.

However, when Alice's boss wants her to manage the re-release of an acclaimed best seller, some 15 years before, as an e-book, it will rekindle horrific and painful memories for her that occurred at that time. Often told through flashbacks, we see 16-year-old Alice being manipulated and sexually abused by the book's author Milan Daneker. The superb actor Michael Nyqvist is perfectly cast as Milan, and is so believable and despicable you just want to reach through the screen and give him a smack.

As a result of all this, Alice has such a poor self-image that she has become promiscuous, with her life filled with one-night stands from bar pick-ups. The crucial question, and the crux of the movie will be whether once she meets a nice guy and solid citizen (David Call), can she finally have a loving and meaningful relationship, or will she revert to her old ways?

In supporting roles, I thought Ali Ahn did a fine job as Sadie, Alice's best friend, and Ana Mulvoy-Ten was most solid as young Alice. The movie was written and directed by Marya Cohn, who's making her feature film debut here, and I read the film is semi-autobiographical. I would be interested in seeing what else Cohn brings to the screen.

In summary, as mentioned, this is not an easy film to view, but, overall, I came down on the positive side after seeing its rather uplifting final segments.
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Great new treatment for the oldest story there is...
neylannc20 December 2015
For those who have survived sexual abuse by an older, respected predator who seems to deserve admiration in all other ways, and the resultant devastation of this experience in adult life...

I found this statement by the writer/director Marya Cohn:

"The girl in the book is a deeply personal story about a young woman who reclaims her body, her voice, and ultimately her power. At first, she must grapple with disturbing memories from her childhood and their profound, residual effects on her adult life. But she is eventually able to overcome her past and take control of her future. I intend for her victorious spirit to offer hope to all those with troubled pasts who must rise above them to live fulfilling lives."

Excellent film, especially for those who have lived through various shades of the experience. I am surprised the phrase "sexual abuse" is not mentioned in promos for the movie.

Ana Mulvoy-Ten, who plays the part of young Alice, is especially impressive in her portrayal of the full spectrum of emotions. I hope more attention is lavished on this highly successful film.
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Skip it
ReganRebecca20 March 2017
The Girl in the Book is a movie that covers an interesting subject with interesting characters, but it ends up feeling a bit too on the nose, a bit too by the book.

The movie is about Alice (played by Emily van Camp as an adult and Ana Mulvoy Ten as a teenager), a 28 year old struggling assistant book editor with famous agent parents. When Alice is assigned the plum position of helping with the re-release of a novelist's most famous book she reacts with horror rather than glee and in flash backs we learn that the venerated author groomed and then raped her when she was a young teen.

Unfortunately there is not a lot to the story other than this. Writer-director Cohn spends a lot of time flashing back and forth between teen and adult Alice, but it's not really a mystery why Alice is the way she is and it's dragged out way too long. Alice's trauma manifests itself in promiscuity, which is interesting, but isn't particularly carefully examined and the happy third act ending comes as the result of a functional relationship she has which isn't particularly well drawn either.

Somewhere in this collection of ideas is a good idea, but the movie itself unfortunately takes an all too common trauma and flattens it into a series of clichés that robs it of its emotion and power.

An unfortunately mediocre debut from Cohn.
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Warning Should be Made to women who have been sexual Molested
deannapalexander23 February 2016
I was not expecting much when I picked this random movie on New flick two nights ago. Basically, after seeing the movie, I have visited without wanting to, my own molestation of which there were so, so many similarities. My father said the exact same thing to me when I confronted him, when I was in my thirties, "You wanted it". I was 13 when my father started trying to convince me to have sex with him (he achieved his desire after to drugged me). The very powerful mind games (you owe me) older men play to convince/guilt their victim. I felt every nauseating pain, shame, guilt, and dirty ick that these actresses portrayed. Oddly enough, I also was super promiscuous in my life before I got married. Basically, this movie should have a serious warning... I have been having vivid, horrible memories since I saw this movie. I loved it, but serious warning should be made before you watch it.
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The future comes only when the past is gone
khan_rado14 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
An interesting and believable story taken out from the everyday life. It presents a young woman with a weak character whose life is a mess. She seems to be stressed constantly and not being able to go on with her life because of a deep emotional trauma during childhood.

The film explores the emotional aspect of the human character and how getting stuck in the past leads to absence of future. Alice is a synonym of an introvert. Despite her hurried life she makes no progress and seems to be standing still. She works hard but she's not successful. She knows what she wants from life but she doesn't do anything to get it. She has built a wall around herself to shield her from the outside world because she's afraid of it.

Aside from the actors love as a two-faced feeling also plays a role in this film. Its first act is to disappoint to a level that everything after that is stereotyped as deceitful and untrustworthy. Then it transitions with the main character to show its other face that can tear down the walls someone intentionally built to prevent the future to come in.

This film shows the wonderful things that can happen when you open your mind, stop existing in the past and start living today for the future.
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It takes decades, if ever, to move on from childhood abuse.
simondclinch-119 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A woman aged around 30 finds that her childhood abuser is entering her professional life in the world of book publishing.

The screenplay attempts to run two stories concurrently. The story of when Alice was put upon by an older man and the story of her re- confronting this fifteen years later.

The problem is that these basics leave the plot with inadequate opportunity for further development later on. The acting and scene- by- scene directing are very good however.

Young Alice reacts credibly to the unwelcome advances, but fifteen is a little too old to come to much harm. It would provide more opportunity to the overall plot if a younger girl were being abused at this part of the story as well as more justification to what does happen.

In the present-day part of the plot, it is therefore reasonable that the confrontation leads to Alice quickly getting over it after fifteen years of psychological relapse. Unfortunately it means the plot is left short of material and is a bit unbalanced - either she should be deeply scarred or not as opposed to getting over deep disturbance quickly. As a result the film spins out just a few plot elements and just checks out at the end with everything all fine now.
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"The Girl in the Book": You're left expecting more than delivered.
jtncsmistad4 July 2016
Emily VanCamp (TV's "Scandal") is Alice, a frustrated book editor with a messed up relationship when it comes to men and a deeply-seated dark secret in her past in "The Girl in the Book". While the story as both written and directed by Marya Cohn is engaging enough, certainly, VanCamp's performance comes off as mystifyingly muted here. She never seems to fully let go with this crushingly conflicted character's catharsis in a convincing manner. And thus what should have been a thundering wallop of an impact amounts to little more than a moderate thud.

Also be aware that there is a scene toward the end of this film with Ana Mulvoy-Ten (she looks 14 even though the actress herself was in her early '20's during filming) as a young Alice and a predatory mentor (a creepy Michael Nyqvist) that pushes beyond uncomfortable.
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franka_van_loon14 December 2015
What to say about this movie, yes it is happening, more as we like to know of. It is a movie about a predator (paedophile), and Alice, one of the predators victims. And yes the story could been taken from the everyday life and is about the pain that follows the rest of the victims life. Most victims in this case Alice, lives are damaged. Well played by Emily VanCamp and Ana Mulvoy-Ten. Michael Nyqvist who plays the predator is doing a good job, but something is missing. The parts where the predator is grooming Alice, are very simplified. It does not show the patients (many month's)and how subtle the predators are working and kneading their victims physical and psychological, everyday one inch closer, everyday decreasing the proprietary space between adult and child, like a predator does on a deer.
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Wayward Tales
tributarystu16 February 2016
It's sort of ironic that I happened to watch The Girl in the Book and Diary of a Teenage Girl completely unpremeditated within the same week. Both revolve around statutory rape and portray strong female protagonists, but the stories they are a part of highlight different levels of artistic accomplishment.

Unfortunately for The Girl in the Book, it does not take the time to achieve more. As we get to know Alice, both in her youth, when she is abused by a mentoring writer, and in her young adult life, when she is handed the job of overseeing the re-release of the same writer's magnum opus, it becomes apparent that her disheveled present is rooted in this particular past. Detached, self-destructive and incapable of forming lasting relationships, she struggles for meaning and purpose in the hope of ultimately rediscovering her love of writing, her joy for living.

This gloomy predicament is anchored in Emily VanCamp's strong performance, but at a mere 86 minutes runtime, it's not enough to convincingly build her character's transformation. The worst hit is her redeeming romance with young and idealistic Emmett, your very own Marty Stu character type, which goes from zero to "one hundred reasons you should forgive me" within twenty minutes. It's a shame that for all its melodrama, it avoids dramatic weight with a vengeance, in a story bow-tied ending you see coming from miles away.

Fortunately, the film is not so much about the narrative arc, as it is about its central character, so its faults are bearable. But it's a shame, because it does little with a variation on the Gone Girl scenario about the dividing line(s) between degrees of fictional characters. The escape it sets up is therefore neither original enough, nor thorough enough to elicit your utmost attention and care at all critical junctions.
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decent work
Kirpianuscus3 May 2016
a delicate theme. a meeting. a decent film. and the grace to explore the nuances of a painful memory. the option to explore the consequences of a childhood's incident, the need to escape from the mark of indifference of parents is an inspired option for define Alice's dramatic status. because Emily VanCamp does a great job in the lead role. because her fight to be herself against the past is credible , maybe as sketch but enough for suggest the drama. it is a good film. against the temptation to criticize it for the absence of a profound analysis of case. the last scene, like the scene of confrontation, are the two moments who saves the not great courage of director to search the roots of drama. so, see it !
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New York, New York
westsideschl21 March 2016
Three minutes in I knew the origins of this movie - i.e. northeast region, most likely NY. How, you ask? Will you probably didn't but here it is. It must have something to do with the high levels of atmospheric, land & water pollution that has delayed cognitive development in that region. It seems that every other movie that has the "I Love NY" bumper sticker in the ending credits has as it's storyline soft porn; dysfunctional relationships; restaurants & eating (w/alcohol, too); lots of face to face dialogue that is at the high school sophomoric love crush readability level. Mechanics rating: 1. Memorize a line, regurgitate, cut, edit, next line, and on and on. 2. No special features, but then nothing special to feature. 3. No subtitles for those that need them or to just hear important dialogue (not important in this case).
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Crucial contradiction.
george-parker18327 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Why was Alice supposed to be able to stop Milan touching her when he tried to grope her breasts but was unable to stop him when he said that he wanted to make her come?

The contradiction was utterly stupid and pathetic and completely ruined the film.

Why did Milan, a middle-aged man go up to Alice, a sixteen year old girl and say "I want to make you come.", and start stroking her between her legs whilst ordering her in a cold tone of voice to keep her eyes open?

Was it because he wanted to treat her with love and affection and make her feel happy, excited, worthwhile, wanted and uplifted or because he wanted to treat her with contempt and make her feel unhappy, shocked, worthless, debased and degraded?

Why would an adult male want to treat a female with contempt and make her feel unhappy, shocked, worthless, debased and degraded?

Would it be because he felt worthless, debased and degraded himself at the thought that whereas he found her extremely desirable and attractive she didn't return the compliment, and that, as a result, he felt overwhelmed with humiliation, envy and resentment?
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Not believable and somewhat dangerous ending
austinwidget21 December 2016
I enjoyed the movie in most ways overall. The subject matter is an important one and needs to be addressed. However, the ending where she comes to a realization more of what's wrong in her life, it seems to say that a victim can just come to understanding, spells out her future hopes and promises, and "all is forgiven". It really doesn't work that way in real life. That's a huge trauma for anyone to go through and without some long-term professional help, human beings are rarely able to move forward and just "don't do it" anymore. I found it very unrealistic and not a great message to put into the world. Hard and deep trauma requires hard and deep help from professionals who know what they're doing. And yes, as another viewer suggested, it should have a strong warning at the beginning for those who might have gone through similar situations in their real life.
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the pain of the victim of a pedophile
dumitrescu-catalina13 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
this movie is about the pain of a young woman which was a victim of a pedophile as a teenager.this type of movies makes me sick even if we cannot deny the ugly truth that this happens too often and too little is done.the actors were good,the music,the screenplay,but the story is so painful and any kind of artistic interpretation could not take the monster mask of pedophilia away.trying to live with this kind of pain,trying to learn to live and to love is hard work and is beautiful all the walk she makes to find and understand true and new love.the real thing.this is a movie for those who live such horror and try to live beyond it.for other people is a pain that they would never really understand.
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Impressive performances in a needed look at the lifelong repercussions from sexual abuse.
WhimsicalVonia22 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A hidden gem of a film. I have no idea why they did not address then entire theme of the film in any synopsis I read, anywhere. Especially since it was revealed within the first several minutes. What is it? The unfortunately seldom addressed, yet perennially relevant trauma that is sexual abuse. Specifically, by an older father figure upon a naive young girl. The situations where charged are never pressed, but the repercussions can be devastating and lifelong, in ways that might not be obvious to the unsuspecting eye. The more the general public is educated, the more likely we are to understand and recognize the problem.

I will not say that much more because this is the type of film one must view to truly appreciate; words will not suffice. It is is the casting decisions, the resulting chemistry between the characters, the subtle nuances of the acting, the things that are not said, and the in between silences that really make the difference.

All around impressive performances. Emily VanCamp as 29 year old Alice, forced to revisit her traumatic past with the man who raped her, then proceeded to use her words and her entire life as the protagonist for a best selling book. As Milan, the older man who manipulates, sexually abuses, uses, and rapes her, Michael Nyqvist manages to make his character almost vindicable at times, other times someone viewers would want killed. Michael Cristofer as the dominating father that neglects his daughter, obviously calling out for attention. My personal favorite, Ali Ahn as the Asian girl that is Ana's best friend and always straightforward voice of reason. Why? Because she reminds me of me, of course. Ethnicity aside, the secret to her heart is good food (I love the scene where she tells Ana she does not want to see her for a while but takes the dulche de leche from her hands before closing the door on her) and she tells it as it is, blunt to a fault. Mason Yam as the adorable soon that Alice is a godmother to. David Call as the cute boyfriend that opens Alice's eyes. Last but certainly not least, the most unexpectedly commendable performance by Ana Mulvoy Ten, playing young Alice.

**** Spoilers ****

My only complaint is that it did make it seem a little too easy for Alice to work through her trauma. Based on my time in the world of Social Work and bring a Psychology scholar, I can assure you most cases of sexual abuse, with the victim more than a decade later, will not "heal" as suddenly as this film seemed to portray. It felt like a forced positive ending, since that is what most audiences want.

Oh, and that "100 Reasons You Should Forgive Me" idea? Romantic. Touching. Ingenious. Awesome.
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dansview21 February 2016
It's one thing to show a movie about a college professor seducing a college student, but a middle aged man seducing a 14 year old? If we are to believe that this guy actually did that, than he is basically a monster. Why would the girl even speak to him later? Having said that, I don't think they ever had sex. If they did, that would have been much more traumatic and the story would have been about statutory rape, not molestation.

The actors do a good job. I like the fact that her friends didn't just take her indiscretions lightly due to being N.Y. liberals. They called her out on her immoral behavior and made her suffer and repent.

I understand that the woman who created this story was trying to make a statement about sexual abuse, but in reality she kind of just played to men's prurient interests by showing the scenes she did. Some of them were gratuitous.

The whole thing was so slow. Why couldn't our main character just tell everyone off early on and get on with her life? I found the older guy so creepy and our protagonist's continual toleration of him annoying. Even when she does tell him off, it's pretty weak.

The Asian lady, the dad, the editor, and the boyfriend were all excellent. But I wouldn't watch it knowing what I know now. It's boring and pointless. However, there were enough decent pieces of dialog and emotion to redeem it from the much lower rating I contemplated.
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Difficult story of a girl who was taken advantage of.
TxMike18 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I became an ardent Emily VanCamp fan watching her in her now defunct TV series "Revenge." She is has a great screen presence and is a fine actress.

Here she is Alice Harvey, approaching 29 and is kind of an emotional mess. She is an aspiring writer working for a publishing firm, but her destructive habit is to pick up strangers in bars and have one- night stands. She seems to know it is destructive but she can't seem to help herself.

The thrust of the story is that it is all related to a relationship she developed 15 years earlier, with Michael Nyqvist, an author friend of her dad's, as Milan Daneker. He took an interest in Alice, she was flattered that this author would want to help her with her own writing. But his intentions were not honorable, he needed a source for his book and took unfair advantage of the young girl to gain real insights into the mind and sexuality of a teenager. His book became a best seller but Alice was continually haunted by her earlier experiences with him.

Ana Mulvoy-Ten, who really looks like a 14 or 15 yr old teen, but was really about 22 during filming, is Young Alice. The movie switches back and forth between current time and 15 years earlier so both Alices have generous screen time.

The other actor worth mentioning is veteran Michael Cristofer as Alice's Dad. He always has a smile but is the overbearing type. For example at dinner he will order what he thinks each family member should have, then proceed to eat off all plates. When Alice is having difficulty getting her boss to let her represent a new client, Dad moves in and asserts his influence, belittling her.

Good movie, difficult topic, my wife and I enjoyed the viewing experience.

SPOILERS: At one point Alice worked up enough courage to tell her folks what Milan had done but they didn't believe her, adding to the hurt. Finally, approaching 29, she decided to write her own book, "The Girl in The Book" about what had happened those 15 years earlier.
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SnoopyStyle13 August 2017
Alice (Emily VanCamp) has meaningless sex. She's an assistant editor at a small NY publishing house. Her boss gives her an opportunity to take care of writer Milan Daneker (Michael Nyqvist). Milan is a longtime client of her agent father. Fifteen years earlier, Milan was a writing mentor to underage Alice (Ana Mulvoy-Ten). She is presently struggling to have the courage to show her writing. Despite a new fulfilling relationship, her life starts to unravel.

Ana Mulvoy-Ten has such a babyface that it gets extremely creepy. It's obvious from the start and is hard to watch. It's part Lolita but it's done in a very artful Lifetime way. The incident is never in doubt and needed to be brought out earlier. It's like stretching out something distasteful for dramatic effect. It doesn't work and I would rather get it over with. VanCamp does a nice job in this troubling role. There are issues but it holds together overall.
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Difficult & unflinchingly honest, infuriating & appropriately uncomfortable
matthewssilverhammer13 August 2017
It's a less-ambitious Fish Tank, yet I found myself much more engaged with it. I think that's because it's a more full look at how statutory rape can destroy a life; maybe not dramatically or all at once, but subtly and over a lifetime. Nyqvist is so great; slimy, abusive, creepy, and just plain awful. We really didn't know what we had in him.
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Brave and very well done exploration of a difficult subject
TheLittleSongbird31 July 2017
Any film that covers the subject of rape/sexual abuse and its mental and emotional repercussions deserves to be applauded. It is a very difficult and sensitive subject that is also surprisingly complex when you see it from the victims' point of view.

'The Girl in the Book' is not the first film to explore the subject of rape/sexual abuse, and there are better overall examples when it comes to recent examples of films covering the subject it fares favourably. The last film seen by me exploring the same subject was 'Return to Sender' from two years ago, despite my admiration for Rosamund Pike (a good performance in a mediocre at best film) 'The Girl in the Book' is the much better film, being much better written, acted and easier to swallow on the most part. Again on the most part, 'The Girl in the Book' is a good film and a brave and well done exploration of a difficult subject that is harrowing and sensitive and not easy to talk about. It is also often misunderstood, with generalising, misconceptions and even with victim-blaming, which is good reason as to why it could be addressed more.

The first 10-15 minutes are on the erratically paced side and the two stories/time-line structure from the past with younger Alice and the present with older Alice is initially a little confusing and not as easy to follow as it could be. A longer length would definitely have helped, the film is too short which did make it occasionally jumpy and rushed.

If one feels the same and is considering switching it off, stick with it. The structure becomes clearer and while doing it in a nuanced way the film really comes to life. Sadly, 'The Girl in the Book' does fall apart in the final act, or the last half an hour, where it is too reliant on coincidences delivered in a very clunky fashion, things are wrapped up too tidily and conveniently and it just feels illogical and although intended to be inspiring the outcome felt forced and tacked on, hardly applying to a lot of victims and even when there are victims that do move on to some extent they never forget it.

On the other hand, 'The Girl in the Book' has a lot to recommend it. It is photographed with a lot of fluidity and atmosphere and the editing is always crisp and cohesive. The music, when used, never overbears the drama but is never too low key either. Marya Cohn makes a remarkably auspicious directorial debut, pacing enough of the story beautifully and being alert and accommodating to the actors, allowing them to bring believability and nuanced layers to otherwise fairly clichéd roles (particularly striking in this case is Alice, both older and younger).

'The Girl in the Book's' script is deft and can be surprisingly rich, clunking only in the final 30 minutes. Much of the story is clear, appropriately paced (though it is less than perfect in this regard) and dealing with its subject in a way that's harrowing, intelligent and poignant (there is little trivialising or sugar-coating here), making one really relate to Alice. A lot of the numerous twists are unexpected, logical and hit hard, if one feels uncomfortable watching that isn't a bad thing.

Every bit as impressive, in fact even more so, is the acting, with a particularly exceptional (haven't used that word often recently but in this case it is more than well deserved) performance from Emily VanCamp, bringing so many layers from guilt, shame and tormented pain but also determination and conscientiousness with defiant commitment and touching nuances to a character she makes complex and easy to relate to, yes even to people who have not been through rape/sexual abuse themselves. Ana Mulvoy-Ten portrays the younger Alice every bit as believably, going through a wide range of emotions hit perfectly.

Similarly, 'The Girl in the Book' boasts a (relatively) atypically chilling Michael Nykvist (best known to me as the male lead in the Swedish 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' trilogy) who does a fabulous job making his character as loathsome as can possibly be, his death from lung cancer earlier this year was and still is a very sad loss. David Call brings a sympathetic charm and makes the most of what is essentially a plot device character. Michael Cristofer plays a dismissive and cold father figure wonderfully, making one hate him just as much as Nykvist's Milan. Ali Ahn is fine too and one can easily identify with her having her heart in the right place and being the voice of reason.

Overall, doesn't completely engage at first and let down badly by the final act, but if stuck with it's very well done and absorbing. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Leopardman423 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The central character here is clearly a victim, and yet, by the middle of the pic, she is turned into a latter-day Hester Prynne -- without the overt tribal ritual of the Scarlet Letter.

She is pilloried for bedding -- or for appearing to bed -- a teenage babysitter at the house of her best friend. Really? I mean, hey, c'mon, like, who hasn't done that? Okay, I'm kidding, maybe it's been months or even years since you've done that, but the point is, this is the place in this moralistic tripe where she becomes some kind of sexual villain?! Don't bother telling that babysitter kid because he's already on the blower telling his entire school how he and a twenty-something done done the deed.

And that sad excuse for a boyfriend, the social activist savior? People with good intentions will stand by and weep while you burn at the stake. And why? Because, they will say, "She brought it on herself." And then the weasel will run for public office over your dead body.

Who are we talking to here? YOU. You if, when she finally went to confront her seducer, you weren't hollering at the screen, "Kick him in the nuts, honey!"

And then hollering, "TWICE!"

(If you're a guy, and you can look at Emily VanCamp's face without seeing that she's the victim, then you have earned all your credits to graduate from Gay University...) :-)
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