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Critic Reviews for Girlhood
The movie captures that heady adolescent sense of time stopping and the moment mattering while standing far enough back to let us acknowledge all the pitfalls Marieme is moving too fast to see.
From the opening montage of Marieme and other girls playing American football in full uniform, "Girlhood" resonates as something special.
"Girlhood" is about as grim as movies get, but it's showing something real, and Sciamma has a feel for this period of life, the camaraderie, the jokes, the kinds of conflicts, the panic and the hope.
Director Sciamma uses an uncommonly light touch in depicting Marieme's gradual transformation from an unformed blank slate into a self-assured girl who doesn't always make the right decisions in the process of figuring herself out.
Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) gets unaffected performances from her non-professional cast.
Audience Reviews for Girlhood
Pure trash. No one told me this was French with English subtitles. Is this why so many overrated their review, so they could play "artsy?" At first I thought this movie was intended as a satire on American female urban blacks sucked into the false reality of the culture American hip hop depicts. It's really unintentional humor if you look at it from that angle. I mean the French version of "Shine Bright Like a Diamonds" part? Really?? French movie makers are so often guilty of poorly copying American culture in their films. This one bottoms that out. Even if you view this from a 2nd generation African immigrant angle, it's still unrealistic and incorrectly terrible. Be real: lamest of stories, deplorable acting.
I saw this at the 2015 Cleveland International Film Festival. The title cashes in on the popularity of Linklater's Boyhood, but the original French title, Bande de filles, means something more like Gang of Girls. Marieme played by Karidja Touré is growing up in the Paris projects. She carries a lot of responsibility caring for her younger sisters, but her home life is not good and her grades are not good enough to get her out of the lower class existence where her mom is stuck. She drops out of school and joins a group of rebel girls who try to live by their own code rather than by the law of the streets, which are dominated by boys. For this gang, imagine the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies from Grease are combined into one. Marieme assumes a new identity and changes her name to Vic. Vic and the gang fight, dance, and party as often as possible. She learns to toughen up. Gang life teaches her to use other people's fear against them, to be the aggressor rather than the victim. Touré is haunting in the role. When money runs low she tries to maintain control, but the plot turns toward human trafficking of the drug running variety. Things get harrowing in writer/director Céline Sciamma's drama as Vic shows strength by being as butch as possible, yet how can she gain success and security with the roadblocks that have been set in her way. It doesn't cover nearly as much time in the life of Marieme as the film Boyhood covers its subject, but the main character is forced to grow up faster.
Superlative, brilliantly written film with not an iota of judgement or mawkish sentimentality, just truthful characters and an environmental that feels vivid. The performances are electric.
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