Some Girl(s)

Some Girl(s)


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

We never know his name. He could be any one of a great number of men. We do know he's a writer but he's dismissive about that. It's not why he's doing this, he says. He's about to get married and his cross-country trip to visit former girlfriends is simply about wanting to apologise for past mistakes, to talk things through, to make everything okay.

Adapting the story from his own play (it still looks quite stagey but, given the context, that's almost an asset), Neil LaBute continues with his coruscating examination of many men's habitual cruelty to women. Adam Brody keeps the unnamed protagonist distant, strangely blank, as if part of his problem is his lack of any real personality of his own, prompting him to parasitise the charismatic women he meets and try to substitute scandalous behaviour for depth. The women, in turn, latch onto the only thing they know abut the person he's become, projecting onto him their assumptions about writers as if in an attempt to convince themselves his unpleasant characteristics are rare. Does he write fiction because he's a natural liar? Perhaps. The film maintains a careful balance between our perceptions of him as a conscious exploiter and as an innocent, blinded by privilege to that damage he does.

Copy picture

He certainly seems out of depth with the women, each of whom has her own way of surprising him. Jennifer Morrison is full of raw pain as high school sweetheart Sam. Mía Maestro comes on strong as Tyler, fond of sex and fond of drugs but a lot more astute than she first seems. Emily Watson is Lindsay, the older colleague with whom he had a destructive affair, not willing to accept easy assurances that he's sorry so things are alright now. Zoe Kazan is the too-young Reggie whose bleak story undercuts any lingering sympathy we might have had for him, whilst Kristen Bell is Bobbi, unwilling to hear that she was always the one. Each of the women delivers a powerful performance in an increasingly riveting story, and yet these are very ordinary stories, the sort of stories most women have; it''s in the ordinariness of it that LaBute finds the real horror.

If there's one thing that seems odd about the women it is perhaps that they seem unfeasibly beautiful; it's difficult to understand why they fell for this rather ordinary man, though each actress does her best to explicate her character's vulnerability. Their beauty, and the overall glossiness of the production, contribute to the sense that what we are seeing is coloured by fantasy. The man isn't the only unreliable narrator here, and though the focus is on his failings, nobody comes away unscathed.

Tough to watch in places but well worth the effort, Some Girl(s) has a single-mindedness that is forgivable in light of its central truths. There are themes here of youth and folly, of growing up too soon or too late, but a dark final scene leaves little room for forgiveness.

Reviewed on: 11 Jun 2013
Share this with others on...
A writer who is about to get married travels cross-country to talk to ex-girlfriends.

Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Writer: Neil LaBute

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jennifer Morrison, Adam Brody, Emily Watson, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro

Year: 2013

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: US


Search database:

If you like this, try: