Written and directed by ER (1994) castmember Lily Mariye, this gritty, sexually frank coming-of-age story has won 11 awards. Set in inner-city Los Angeles. Stars the immensely sympathetic ... See full summary »
The title "White Girl" not only refers to the film's protagonist but is also a slang word for cocaine (the primary drug consumed in the film). See more »
Leah puts a cigarette in her mouth, tobacco end first, then tamps the same end down in a small pile of cocaine (to get some in the cigarette?) then puts it back into her mouth, again tobacco end first. When she removes her hand, the cigarette has reversed so that the filter end is now magically in her mouth.
During the publicity blitz for this movie director and writer Elizabeth Wood made a big deal about how this was based on her real life experiences, how unshocking it was (while simultaneously playing up that their were tons of sex scenes and nudity to play up the shock factor) and how unfair it was that white women like herself were able to dabble in drugs for fun in college, while their Latino and black peers were treated like criminals for far lesser offences. Now all these things led me to expect a much different movie, but watching White Girl I was almost bored by how tame and basic it was and how little it had to say beyond that one message.
Morgan Saylor plays Wood's alter ego Leah. Moving into a cheap apartment in a bad (i.e. predominately Latino) neighbourhood with her friend Katie, Leah is immediately attracted to some young Latino men she sees hanging around her street corner. One night, bored and out of weed she introduces herself to them. When they refuse to sell to her she later meets one of them, named Blue, and invites him up to her apartment. They quickly fall in love and Leah helps him upsell his cocaine at exorbitant prices to her wealthy white friends. Of course this all predictably goes bad and Leah lands in a dangerous situation where she feels compelled to save Blue, who has landed in prison.
The strange thing is how boring and formulaic this all feels. I watched a scene with Morgan Saylor bouncing around in a rave with her top off and all I wondered was when the movie would be over. We watch Leah make manic decision after ridiculous decision always protected by the fact that she is young, middle class and white. But it's hard to feel for a character when she's her own worst enemy and you can see her mistakes coming a million miles away. Another thing is, if Wood was so hell bent on showing how white people have the privilege of getting away with things that their black and brown peers can't telling the story from the perspective of the white girlfriend was a huge mistake.
It's too bad, I really had high hopes for this, but it fell short. A more interesting take on millennial hedonism and race and class in America is Spring Breakers which is over the top and ridiculous in a way that packs more punch than White Girl.
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