The Exploding Girl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Exploding Girl Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 20, 2013
The two things I remember about this movie:

1) The main character has epilepsy but that's not the point of the story. Both of the stars I gave the film are for the refreshing normalcy with which a "disabled" character is portrayed.

2) It's otherwise a movie about people not answering their cell phones when you want them to, providing a blow-by-blow account of nothing happening.
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2011
A epileptic woman in a fizzling relationship considers romance with her longtime platonic friend.
There are such long moments of silence in this film, the camera trained on Zoe Kazan's often impassive face through much of it, that it is easy to lose interest in the story and characters.
As I watched the film, I thought that all of this must have happened to the writer or director, and he thought it was terribly compelling at the time and would've made a good film, but sometimes such personal stories don't translate. So much is built on silence, and sometimes I thought that whatever they were trying to communicate slipped through the cracks of understanding.
Overall, I think this is a film you either love or hate, either connect with or don't, and I found myself checking my watch instead of propelled by the character's journey.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ March 21, 2010
In "The Exploding Girl," Ivy(Zoe Kazan) gets a ride from a college friend(Hunter Canning) and they collect her childhood friend Al(Mark Rendall) along the way to return home to New York City during spring break when it is very warm.(I know. I know. It was 70 degrees in the city yesterday and there was a long line at the smoothie shop. Still.) They are so close that they finish each other's pizza and it is no problem for Zoe to let Al sleep on her couch when he returns to find his room rented out.(Ouch.) They hang out, go to parties and in between, Ivy tries to get in touch with her boyfriend Greg(Franklin Pipp) which is hit and miss at best.(Technology has vastly improved but communication has not.) At the same time, Al is flirtatious and playing the field but has at least decided upon studying science.(And I really liked the Tesla references, by the way.) All is not fun and games as Ivy also goes to the doctor for a checkup for her epilepsy and luckily she has not had a seizure since November.

"The Exploding Girl" is a naturalistic study of two characters sorting out their lives as neither Al nor Ivy have gotten to the point where they have made a clear break from high school friends to college. Of course, this does not happen the same way for all people and some remain friends for life, no matter what changes occur in their lives. The camera is held at an unobtrusive distance, giving the viewer a pedestrian's view of New York City which allows us to clearly observe the characters, seeing details about them that they themselves don't notice. And there are two fabulous shots that break with this, one on a rooftop late and a closeup of Ivy's face that closes the film.
April 12, 2012
The Exploding Girl is kind of just a prototype of an independent film. It has scenes you've seen before, understated characters who go through hard times and mope around at parties, or have meaningless banter with their parents. Aside from being fairly well acted, this movie isn't much different than countless other indie films. The reason I like it is a purely egocentric one: I've found myself in situations like this before. Being a college student and observing the sort of innate transience of friendships, relationships, and environments, this movie did have some effect on me, despite the endless scenes of people walking or doing random things that establish far too much mood and far too little substance. I'd say there's a really great movie in here somewhere if ideas were expanded and the writer/director was willing to push a conventional film in a more audacious direction.
½ February 15, 2010
A quiet film, but in all the right ways. There's so much unspoken but it only heightens the desired effect. Really, really a special picture.
May 20, 2011
Bad bad title. A whole point off for titling and packaging this film wrong. This film is not about an "exploding" girl. It is a thoughtful, sweet, slice of life about a very self controlled girl who manages difficult emotions with mature restraint. The cover explains her restraint as a struggle to ward off epileptic siezures. I'm in favor of my interpretation: the completely believable character we see is who she is: a smart, mature college student coping admirably with life. The film is a small film showing a small moment in time of a character engaging enough to make us care.
February 27, 2011
Nobody I know will like this movie; but there is nothing wrong with it. It is slow, ponderous and minimalist and I doubt there is enough action or dialogue to please those I know. Saying that, Zoe Kazan (Revolutionary Road, In the Valley of Elah, It's Complicated) gives a remarkably under-stated performance as college student, Ivy, returning home to Brooklyn for Spring Break. During this week, the young woman evaluates the relationships in her life including the one with her college boyfriend who has returned to his hometown for the break (and so their only contact is by their cellphones) and that of her steady guy-friend since high school, Al, who is also back in Brooklyn for his Spring Break. Ivy is an epileptic on daily medication; but this isn't highly apparent in the film -- we are just warned of it. Ivy and Al spend most of their time together walking the streets of NYC, setting on rooftops or attending fellow friends' parties. The Exploding Girl is a good, quiet little film; but there is nothing surprising here. If there were more films like this, one could say it is formulaic; but since there aren't I cannot say that ... although some plot developments aren't in the least bit surprising. With a running time of just under 80 minutes, there isn't a whole lot here; but Kazan makes the most of it -- I believe she'll be one to watch as her resume is already impressive. To show how minimalist it actually is -- the films most beautiful scene is simply one of a flock of flying pigeons over the city skyline. There is beauty in the small things ... such as The Exploding Girl.
January 24, 2011
Zoe Kazan looks like a younger, slightly cuter Kristen Schaal, and if you're me, that's about all you need to know.
½ January 16, 2011
quiet, slow and sweet. the film itself compelled me to lean in and pay closer attention to the details.
November 16, 2010
I can see where this won awards, because it's different than a typical Hollywood film, but it was so boring. and slow. and awkward. and I fell asleep at the end.
½ March 12, 2010
Squarely between a 6/10 and 7/10, as a feature, it's slight; as a mood sustained by Kazan and Gray, it's impressive and occasionally spellbinding.
½ September 27, 2010
The Exploding Girl is another noticeable indie romance this year that achieves not in its dialogue, but by the imagery and physical actions of the characters instead. The film does not worry itself with talking a majority of the time and a lot of the dialogue is usually something repetitive (like phone call conversations). The story finds it's true essence in the more silent moments, especially the film's beautiful last couple of minutes. The dialogue when spoken is hit and miss and the plot is a little too thin and could of been more challenging. Zoe Kazan does a marvelous job here as Ivy and doesn't have to go all out to make her role convincing. Mark Rendall is good as well though he could of been used more in the film given the context of his character. The film work is very strong as well and has some of the year's more beautiful shots. The film is fairly short, running at just 80 minutes but it still finds its heart in that short amount of time.
June 23, 2010
Being mellow is cool and everything, but you can be mellow and exist in the mumblecore genre while still giving the audience something, ANYTHING, to hold its attention. At 1 hour and 19 minutes, this movie akin to doing a laborious homework assignment. What would have been a decent sideplotline in another film is stretched until it breaks in this film. I don't need much razzle dazzle to enjoy a film, but I like the things I watch to at least be marginally interesting.
May 27, 2010
For people like me, this film perfectly captures a moment that we've all been through, our viewing experience fueled by nostalgia or the painful curiosity to relive that time. The film is about Ivy, a college student who is on her summer vacation at home. Staying at her house is her high school friend Al. Ivy tries to maintain a long-distance relationship with her college boyfriend while also making sure her friendship with Al doesn't turn into something too complicated. As a film that is all about capturing the essence of a teenage/young adult romance, this film succeeds. But for me, as I was watching it, I was questioning whether or not I wanted to witness this. The film offers no insights, alternatives, or solutions of young heartbreak but is merely a snapshot of what it is. So it depends on what you like; if you want something more, than this isn't really for you, but if you want to observe the real state of most college students on vacation, check out this flick.
½ May 15, 2010
The Exploding Girl is only fooling itself (and 75% of the critics, apparently) with its ridiculously indie pretense. It acts like it has something to say through its long stretches of silence, improvised dialogue, and static long takes, but it really doesn't. It feels like you're stalking a really uninteresting girl. There's little drama, excitement, or anything of interest, despite fine performances from Zoe Kazan and Mark Rendall (fine here constitutes doing nothing well and occasionally showing a glimmer of magnetic chemistry). Way too pretentious and dull to be worth anything, in the end. The most disappointed I've ever been by a film, because I've never seen such a discrepancy between the quality of the trailer and the final film.
February 3, 2010
When twenty-year-old Ivy heads home Spring Break with a fresh romance in her heart, everything seems to be going perfectly. When her best friend Al finds himself without lodgings, Ivy and her mother take him in and Ivy and Al's friendship strengthens while her boyfriend grows more distant from afar. Increasingly distressed about her conflicting feelings, Ivy must stay resilient in the face of her epilepsy, lest her emotions become something she can't control. Marking Zoe Kazan's first leading role, Bradley Rust Gray's film is a meditative and realistic portrait of a young girl coming of age and finding a deeper kind of love in New York City.
February 10, 2010
When twenty-year-old Ivy heads home Spring Break with a fresh romance in her heart, everything seems to be going perfectly. When her best friend Al finds himself without lodgings, Ivy and her mother take him in and Ivy and Al's friendship strengthens while her boyfriend grows more distant from afar. Increasingly distressed about her conflicting feelings, Ivy must stay resilient in the face of her epilepsy, lest her emotions become something she can't control. Marking Zoe Kazan's first leading role, Bradley Rust Gray's film is a meditative and realistic portrait of a young girl coming of age and finding a deeper kind of love in New York City.
March 17, 2010
a realistic portrait of a young girl coming of age in New York City. Zoe Kazan is great and won best actress at The Tribeca Film Festival
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2010
I'm generally not a big fan of mumblecore films, and while this tale of a college girl just trying to make it through spring break as her relationship with her boyfriend crumbles and her attraction to her close friend grows, contains many of the self-conscious, faux-verite accouterments of the genre, it's really a slow burning charmer. "The Exploding Girl" sneaks up on you right when you least expect it.
October 21, 2009
the image on the poster and in every single press release about this movie is pretty much the best part. it's one truly stunning scene in an hour and twenty minutes of nothing. zoe kazan is great and she makes it all watchable, but she can't make it good. the film never accomplishes anything or goes anywhere. it's a cliche. it's frustrating. and zoe kazan deserves better.
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