The Exploding Girl (2010)
Critic Consensus: Its languid pace and willfully understated narrative may test the patience of some viewers, but Bradley Rust Gray's gentle direction and a gripping performance from Zoe Kazan lend The Exploding Girl an appealing, melancholy beauty.
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Critic Reviews for The Exploding Girl
The Exploding Girl is a film about the deceptiveness of surfaces, and it takes place in a small town that you eventually realize with a start is actually New York City.
The Exploding Girl is a character study of one young woman - and of an entire generation struggling to maintain external maturity despite internal regression.
Sometimes a carefully placed pinprick can stay with you longer than a heavier, clumsier blow, and so it is with Bradley Rust Gray's delicately done but indelible The Exploding Girl.
A Zen-like experience of watchful compassion in deliberately challenging circumstances: trying to see and hear, without leaping to conclusions, the gathering troubles of a young woman living in hectic circles and with increasing self-absorption.
Viewers willing to slow down their cinematic metabolism enough to watch The Exploding Girl at its own pace will find their patience rewarded by moments of great beauty...
Audience Reviews for The Exploding Girl
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.
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.
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.
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