The Dead Girl Reviews
Next is Rose Byrne, also a troubled girl, troubled by her sister's disappearance many years ago. She believes the body may belong to her sister.
Then the wife of the serial killer. This story was more chilling than the others. I wont say too much and spoil it.
Next, the mother of the "dead girl", discovering that her daughter was a hooker and drug addict, was in a lesbian relationship and had a child of her own.
Then finally, the "dead girl". This story cuts off abruptly at the point she meets the killer. Which is fine. I had no wish to see it!
Overall a very nicely done, dark story about the impact of crime on those left behind.
Arden (Toni Collette) is a homely frail girl who accidentally discovers the dead girl, taking a necklace from the corpse before reporting the discovery to the police. She is a caretaker for an invalid, foul-mouthed cruel mother (Piper Laurie) who berates Arden for being so ugly and for involving them in a murder case. Arden flees, meets The Stranger Rudy (Giovanni Ribisi), a tattooed, scary appearing guy who is attracted to Arden because she appears so innocent. He courts her with tales of serial killer manners and yet eventually gains Arden's fractured self-perception trust with physical contact. The next chapter introduces Leah (Rose Byrne) who works with Derek (James Franco) in the mortuary where the dead girl's body has been deposited for autopsy. Leah discovers markings on the dead girl that convince her this is the sister who has been missing for 15 years, a fact that her parents (Mary Steenburgen and Bruce Davison) refuse to accept. Leah's tenuous hold on reality is altered by Derek's consolation and physical attention.
The Wife episode offers a view of Mary (Mary Beth Hurt) and Carl (Nick Searcy), a married couple with mutual distrust: Mary knows Carl has flings with prostitutes while Carl feels Mary is too controlling. Mary discovers a chest of torn bloody underwear in one of their business Storage Containers, connects the items with Carl in a suspicion that Carl may be related to the death of the dead girl, and burns them. In The Mother we finally meet the true mother Melora (Marcia Gay Harden) of the dead girl Kritsta (Britanny Murphy) as she traces the clues from the body to a seedy motel where she meets Rosetta (Kerry Washington), Krista's roommate and lover, only to discover that the dead Krista ran away from home to become a prostitute and drug addict in response to a childhood abuse problem with her father. Melora is informed that Krista has an illegitimate three-year-old daughter Ashley whom Krista loved and Melora seeks to care for the only remains of the dead girl - her granddaughter and her lover.
This film beams with brilliant performances: Collette, Harden, Byrne, Laurie, Hurt, Searcy, Washington, Steenburgen, Franco and Ribisi are poignant in their depiction of damaged people whose lives are altered by the Dead Girl. This is ensemble acting of the finest category. The production values are strong and the director's control of what could have been a meandering saga is firm and keeps the story from becoming sensationalized. This is yet another brilliant little film that deserves a very wide audience. Grady Harp
Centred around all the main people effected when a dead girl is found and creatively chaptered, to enable the viewer to experience the effects and emotions felt by each individual surrounding the storyline, it was a unique style used for this type of film and with a good standard of Actors, this was a very enjoyable film.
It's a story of murder split into five parts as we look into the lives of the people the dead girl has affected with her death.
A big cast fills the roster and all of them play the parts well.
The first section had me looking at my watch but the last three were pretty good.
It's a little bit of a bummer movie though. Have a comedy handy for afterwards.
The second piece sucked me in, and from there, it was quite a ride.
In retrospect, I realize that the first segment set the tone for the film, and while dark and dreary, sure set up the overall theme of women trapped in situations that they find difficult to escape from. The Mary Beth Hurt segment was especially telling. She knew what her husband was, and yet cannot break free from the feeling of rote that her life has become; which echos Mary Steenbergen in the previous piece, who has thrown her entire being into clinging to the hope that her missing daughter is still alive; an existence that cripples all those around her, especially her daughter, who understands the need to move on.
The acting and writing throughout seemed spot on - not a false emotion to be found anywhere. All the confusion, aimlessness and yearnings were natural and in no way seemed a contrivance to advance the story line.
Many do not like the segmented nature of this film, finding that it stunts charactor growth - but for me, I found this film to be about deep personality sketches that connected to each other in oblique and subliminal ways.
[font=Century Gothic]"The Dead Girl" is a movie divided into five segments, each about a separate woman occupying a different corner of the same universe, starting with Arden, and continuing with Leah(Rose Byrne), Ruth(Mary Beth Hurt), Melora(Marcia Gay Harden, thankfully dialing it down a notch) and finally the title character who by the end of the film has a name - Krista. After each segment, the audience gets to know Krista a little better. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Writer-director Karen Moncrieff's intent is to exlplore the role of women in society. These women are more than just victims but still incomplete, as they are still only cleaners and caretakers.(In two cases, the cleansing ritual includes fire.) They are also missing something important which could be love.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Dead Girl" is a strong, powerful movie and a definite improvement on Moncrieff's debut film, "Blue Car." Led by Toni Collette, it is very well acted by a great cast that also includes Kerry Washington, Mary Steenburgen, Bruce Davison and Josh Brolin.[/font]
The plot was simple but brillant for me. All the stories interwine when a young woman is found dead. Throughout the movie we find out just who this women was and some of the people who knew her in some fashion. Very interesting characters,they werent flat or boring at all which is a huge plus for me. I love character driven films and this ranks up there with the best that I have seen. Dead Girl is often creepy,the way its shot(mostly at night,the things the characters say,they way they move,everything was so damn brillant!
This movie spends about 10-15 mins on each story so you know the just of it. But that only leaves you wanting for find out more about the dead girl,how she died,who she was,etc. Never a moment when I said "come on enough already" I just kicked back and enjoyed this often creepy and intriguing film. My only complaint was that there should have been more Brittany Murphy(she plays the "dead girl") she made me want to hit the play button as soon as I got back to the main menu of my DVD player.This movie doesnt leave you,not a forgettable film by any means :)