God Help The Girl


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Olly Alexander, Emily Browning and Hannah Murray in Stuart Murdoch's God Help The Girl
"The film staggers from one embarrassment to the next." | Photo: Neil Davidson

Making a musical about an anorexic girl in Glasgow who is prone to self absorption and depression might be considered a mirror image of Sunshine On Leith's feel good platitudes. Only it's not. It's worse.

Eve (Emily Browning) keeps escaping from the hospital where she is being treated for her addiction and wanders the streets singing songs of excruciating blandness. It turns out she's written them herself, courtesy of writer/director Stuart Murdoch, Belle & Sebastian's front man.

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She meets James (Olly Alexander) at an open mic venue where his simple melodies go down like cold neeps. His skinny suburban persona doesn't help. They become friends and he falls for her, but she's too sick to cope with emotional entanglements.

They are joined by Cassie (Hannah Murray), a posh girl who wants to be a singer, despite a voice that would make a parrot wince. They spend the summer together, doing what young people with no commitments do, only musically.

Murdoch's cinematic inexperience shows. The film staggers from one embarrassment to the next. The storytelling is weak and the songs only improve when Eve is singing with a band near the end.

Alan Parker did this kind of thing so much better with Fame in 1980, although Irene Cara wasn't playing someone with an eating disorder. What's missing here is a heartbeat.

Reviewed on: 30 Jul 2014
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God Help The Girl packshot
An anorexic girl in Glasgow has ambitions to become a singer/ songwriter
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Director: Stuart Murdoch

Writer: Stuart Murdoch

Starring: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bisset

Year: 2014

Runtime: 111 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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