17 Girls (2012)
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Critic Reviews for 17 Girls
17 Girls is allegedly inspired by true events, but this diffident, dreamy film is so insubstantial it's hard to believe there's a speck of reality to be found in it.
The film suggests a state of grace between childhood and adulthood, but the narrative feels increasingly tentative, and the characters remain opaque - "local divas," in one teacher's estimation.
The question is why this incident seemed worth dramatizing, especially in such a dreamily romanti-cized way - with perfect pregnancies and friendly baby daddies.
The movie takes you inside the dreamy collective mentality of bored, mildly rebellious girls who look with horror at the lives of their mostly working-class parents.
The movie needs a tighter grip, yet the narrative detours, including a beach party and one especially liberating confrontation, can be surprisingly joyous.
Audience Reviews for 17 Girls
This is one of those French movie that talks a lot without every really saying anything at all. I'm pretty sure you've seen one of these films once in your life, at least if you follow international cinema, even at a more casual level. It's not that this is a bad movie, or one that is poorly made, I just think there's certain parts of the film that feel like a whole bunch of nothingness. I wouldn't necessarily say it's filler, as parts of it are showing the girls in their daily surroundings, literally doing nothing in their rooms, and I think the film wanted to show something through those scenes. And it's not like the narrative is really all that focused, maybe to add a little more 'realism' to the proceedings as teens are hardly focused on one thing for any length of time, but I tend to think that it was just some poor scripting that led to the narrative not being tightly held together. I do think there's moments of insight where the film showcases just how absolutely warped these girls' thinking in doing this. I just mean the complete and utter innocence with which they look at something that will change their lives forever, for better or worse. In many ways, this is similar to Sisterhood of Night, except this one is more 'subtle' whereas Sisterhood is a little heavy-handed at times with its message. I think part of the reason this got so far is the need for some teens to feel like they belong with their particular group of friends. I don't think they were thinking of the consequences, just of the fact that it's something cool they could do with friends. I just don't think the film really delved too much into that. Like seeing what drove these girls to all become pregnant at the same time. They do explicitly state out their motivations, but that didn't really feel like enough. It was just lazily thrown out there. Parts of the reason is also the fact that, at least from Camille's mindset, that her mom is simply not involved in her life and she simply did not have the guidance that's necessary to realize that undergoing this is a very serious issue. Perhaps they didn't feel like their parents understood them and having a child was a way to correct all their parents' mistakes. There's hints of this in the film, of course. But, like I said, the narrative is barely held together. It's a perfectly decent movie, to be honest. The acting is more than good and there's moments of insight here about the naivete of those involved in this 'pact.' I just wish there was more of that and less of the dull, nothing scenes that permeated throughout the film. It's certainly not bad, but it won't knock them dead either. It's a middle of the road film, at least for me.
In "17 Girls," high schooler Camille(Louise Grinberg) is pregnant. This puts her already difficult relationship with her mother(Florence Thomassin) on even rockier ground. But Camille's friends are all happy for her. Then Florence(Roxane Duran) also gets pregnant. So, the other members of Camille's clique decide to get pregnant together, starting with a party on a Saturday night with Clementine(Yara Pilartz) about the only one not finding a partner. With a rash of pregnancies, the adults go into lockdown mode before going nuclear with the childbirthing videos.(Oh no, not that!) "17 Girls" handles a difficult subject delicately with grace, grounding its story(inspired by real events) in the realities of a small seaside city where the cultural highlight is eating at the local Chez Mac. In this milieu, all the girls have are each other, with the clueless adults failing the kids and not the other way around. At the same time, the movie can be dreamlike, not only philsophically but also aesthetically. While a montage of ultrasounds is a highlight, the freeze frame portraits are a little too artsy.
Question: Do you remember when you were a teenager? You thought you knew everything; the world evolved around you and your friends; boredom was the norm and finding anything exciting to do was one of your only priorities. The consequences of your actions were so unknown and incomprehensible that driving fast, smoking, experimenting with illegal narcotics, and drinking alcohol was so common place with you or your friends or both. Luckily you survived the angst of your teenage years fairly unscathed. Now you are a parent, and the panic sets in when your child(ren) become teenagers because now you know better. It's the cycle of life. Now I have just viewed a film that made my heart hurt at the lack of common sense of a group of teenage girls. The film is 17 Girls, a French film based on the true story of a group of 16 year-olds who all became pregnant at the same time, on purpose. The reasoning for this "pregnancy pact" left me scratching my head at what we did wrong as a society or as parents that led these girls to thinking this idea was a good one. 17 Girls is a fantasy film, in a sense. It appeared to ignore what really happens to females when they become pregnant. Morning sickness, hormonal changes that lead to major mood swings, food cravings and a desire to eat and be healthy were all missing. These girls smoked (cigarettes and hash), drank alcohol, always appeared happy, unless they weren't pregnant or if they were alone at home. But one thing in the film that was appeared accurate: these teenagers had a tendency to blame their parents for their unhappiness. It seemed appropriate because it's the age where girls are on the cusp of adulthood - a precarious and vulnerable stage. It's a rite of passage, of sorts. I am not saying their behavior to get knocked-up was appropriate. Many of the girls in 17 Girls blamed their current circumstances (boredom) on their parents because they worked, leaving them alone and couldn't bow to all their needs and wants. It's not easy becoming an adult when you are still stuck in the mentality of a child. I will say it again: it's a vulnerable stage. So, become pregnant, have your own child and freedom (and happiness) will come...yep, that's what these girls thought. My head is still spinning at the concept. Too many moral, ethical, sociological questions surfaced while watching the interpretation of the real situation. And when it got to the end, well, the story might leave you a bit angry - especially at the main girl who started the pact. As stated before, this is based on a true story - an American one actually. The film probably took a lot of liberties but I believe the essence is the same. The filmmaker of 17 Girls told on an unique tale without shoving their stance on the matter. A refreshing approach to a story that will make you think deeply about society and its responsibility or lack thereof. Bravo! Review: 8 out of 10
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