God Help The Girl Review – A Beautiful Modern Euro Musical

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"God Help The Girl," from Amplify and Barry Mendel Productions, presents a message of hope as the ravages of anorexia, and destruction of lies are told in musical form through the eyes of a contemporary Euro underground rave band.

 

"God Help The Girl," stars Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bissett, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie and was written and directed by Stuart Murdoch.

The love child of Murdoch, the lead singer and songwriter for the Scottish band Belle & Sebastian, "God Help The Girl," is a modern musical and deals not with love and romance as one would expect but the ravages of anorexia, body image, desperation and the need to find ones place.

Beginning with an escape from the local hospital where, when curtain rises and cameras rolls our main character Eve, beautifully played by Emily Browning, is recovering from another suicide attempt. Eve is an anorexic, talented, determined to meet her destiny head on, even if it means crashes to stop the out of control life that seems to have taken hold of her.

She is off to Glasgow, looking for destiny and as fate and film would have it she meets James, her professional equal, played by Olly Alexander, a bespectacled, somewhat awkward, and not quite comfortable with his underground celebrity status.

With the speed of a fire sale, she scoops him up as her guitarist as the band, of which she is the very talented now lead singer and he, a gentleman, arranges for her to have a room from his super. The two work on holding auditions to find the perfect band.

Throughout the drama of the daily grind, anorexia, the medicine she must take, the flashbacks, the group, like any good musical periodically bursts into song and with the skill and deftness of Gene Kelly, they break into dance accompaniment.

Initially, expecting quite a different film, the musical addition which offsets the gravity of the message was somewhat unusual. It took a couple of tunes to really get into the film. The talent is surprisingly good as they deal with coming of age difficulties, as well as bombardment of expectation, in modern Europe.

The group, which becomes a trio with the addition of Cassie played by well known UK television star Hannah Murray, a musical student of James who is the total opposite to Eve's wayward lonely abandoned  determined pursuit.

Unable to see affection before her eyes, Eve who became lost in celebrity hopeful, has a one night stand with a well known band mate who shatters her very frail existence, and as she is oblivious to the desires of James she with casualness, plunges the knife into his heart as she explains her sexual encounter and the devastation of rejection.

Rejection of course, the one familiar place Eve understands all too well, welcomes her home with open arms and she all too ready to ditch the devastation of miscalculations, poor choices and bad decisions pursues the drug induced state with recklessness. This time the bender goes on for days as the double dose of rejection, brings on a deeper dive into behaviors simmering under the surface.

"God Help The Girl" is surprisingly good. It is clearly not what I expected and I was glad to have seen the film.

It is more than the message, which when one thinks of the volume of girls between the ages of 8 and 18 who over the next decade will pass through this gauntlet of self judgment, globalization of messaging, blitz of body images, the illusive and unattainable perfection, mirrors met by distorted reflections, coupled with raging hormones and the desire for love, acceptance, success, freedom in all its forms, no wonder the weight of the world seems too much for our daughters to bear.

"God Help The Girl" reveals the struggles of body image, anorexia, bulimia, eating disorders, and the larger struggles of the pursuit toward knowledge, peace and the understanding that one has found, at least for the moment, quietness.

I guess Bono said it best in "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." Sometimes is it that way and it is not wrong to hunger and thirst for truth and ones place.

"God Help The Girl" is available on streaming platforms, VOD and DVD. See it. 

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