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Whimsical and quirky as they burst into song. All the while dealing with a serious disorder.
God Help the Girl is a quirky film about a young girl who is struggling with some issues, but seeks refuge in music. She connects with a boy and a girl who share her musical passions and they decide to create a band. The movie has an ethereal quality, similar to the songs that are sung throughout it, as if you're watching the entire thing in a dream. But there are moments where the harshness of real life sink into this world, and they made some interesting decisions to reflect that in the visual style. I liked the characters a lot, and found myself connected to their struggles completely. The lyrics and melodies of the songs also seemed to betray some of the hidden thoughts of the characters, so I think repeat viewings might enhance the experience even more for me. The film has some humor to it as well, but it's not laugh-out-loud jokes, more a general oddness or irony that made me smile. In reality, there isn't much that happens in God Help the Girl, and initially I thought it was going to fall flat for me because I prefer a clear narrative structure. Yet there was something enchanting in the music, in Emily Browning's performance, and in the overall visual aesthetic of the movie that reeled me in. It's not the type of movie I will recommend to most people, and I'm not sure if I will ever consider it a favorite. However, God Help the Girl has a magical quality that works for me, and a soundtrack that I will probably seek out some day.
"God Help the Girl" is a precocious, forgettable indie band metamorphosed into a precocious, forgettable indie movie musical, so cutesy and so impressed with itself that we almost hate ourselves for experiencing moments of weakness in which we actually like it. Because, in essence, it is a likable film - it's a twee toe-tapper of a movie that does more good than it does harm. But it's too long, too facile, and too unsure of its tone to really stick with us. It might have worked better had it been thirty minutes shorter, had it avoided quasi-tragic storyline, and had it been directed and written by a veteran filmmaker and not a musician looking for a different way to express himself.
The man behind "God Help the Girl," of course, is Stuart Murdoch, a musical legend famous for his influential work with Belle & Sebastian, a beloved pop rock band whose songs have the classic ability to draw even the most jaded of a listener in. I'm only vaguely familiar with their music - I've listened to a couple of their tunes once or twice, never to go overboard in my zeal - but I'm appreciative and aware of Murdoch's skill. To write and compose infectious musical work is a gift only few are given, and Murdoch does much with it. Belle & Sebastian's long lasting popularity is not just a result of luck.
That being said, Murdoch is not as apt of a filmmaker as he is a songwriter. Though "God Help the Girl" has a certain sort of bright spark reminiscent of Godard's most joyous 1960s works - it has a way with unforced cool and is cast terrifically - you can feel inexperience dripping from its celluloid skin. The plot never quite cohesively comes together (are we watching an optimistic musical or a poignant teenage romantic drama?). The staging is sometimes contrived. The dialogue leans on the more stilted side of things. And yet I find it hard to completely write it off, as its soundtrack is sprightly and its performances are convincing even when the film isn't. "God Help the Girl" is messy and imperfect and self-conscious. But it has its moments of inspiration, and they count.
The film concerns Eve (Emily Browning), a recovering anorexic teen who dreams of one day becoming a major pop artist. Intrigued by the music scene of Glasgow's West End, she eventually becomes acquainted with James (Olly Alexander), a promising songwriter, and his friend Cassie (Hannah Murray), a burgeoning singer with a honeysuckle voice. A short while later and they're friends sharing a seemingly unbreakable bond, soon deciding that their individual musical talents could be best put to use in the form of a rock band. The prospects are good - everyone involved has more than just a little charisma - but problematic (and forever creeping around) is Eve's past: an eating disorder is simply not something you can walk away from and expect to recover from instantaneously.
And, unfortunately, "God Help the Girl" has a hard time recovering from that aforementioned plot line, too. It would have worked charmingly had it directly been a movie about teenagers aspiring to be the "next big thing" in the music industry. But because it's sidelined with an extremely serious subplot, it never quite reaches the euphoric levels it could; Murdoch has all the right moves in mind, but isn't quite adept enough of a filmmaker to pull off portraying a grave subject matter while making everything else gleefully French New Wave in texture.
But the cast is believable enough to ensure that his shortcomings aren't too apparent: Browning, in particular, gives an exceptional performance as a struggling talent who also happens to possess a remarkable voice. So "God Help the Girl" isn't entirely a success. But with a great soundtrack by its side, it's a movie musical that has plenty of loveliness to pass around. I can dig it - to a point.
What a load of hipster crap! I love Emily Browning, but even this was a poor choice for her talent. I found this to be very boring and very pointless. I am surprised I made it all the way through!
cinegeek.de "There's nothing inherently wrong with the long-form, multi-song music video, man." - Ich habe genau dasselbe gedacht, während ich das Debüt des Belle & Sebastian Sängers Stuart Murdoch anschaute. Der Film dauert keine zwei Stunden, aber meine Aufmerksamkeit wurde doch strapaziert während der längeren Passagen ohne Musik. God Help The Girl ist in der Tat ein Musical und eine gute Idee zudem. Die Darsteller können auch was: Emily Browning, mit ihren grossen Augen, spielt Eve, eine Musikerin, die an Depressionen leidet. Gerade aus der Nervenklinik entlassen, schlendert sie durch Glasgow mit einem Song, den sie auf dem Herzen hat. Sie stösst fast zusammen mit James (Olly Alexander), der auch Musik macht. Ein Sommerflirt führt dazu, dass sie zu Mitbewohnern werden. Dann tritt Cass (Hannah Murray) auf und wir haben es mit einer Dreiecks-Freundschaft zu tun. Eve lässt sich ausserdem noch mit einem französischen Rocker (Pierre Boulanger) ein und es kommt zu emotionalen Verwicklungen. Die Geschichte (sofern es eine ist) bekommt ihre Gewichtung durch die Musiknummern. Einige davon scheinen in der Phantasie der Figuren abzulaufen, andere werden in echt von einer Band gespielt. Hinter den Songs steckt Murdoch, dessen Belle & Sebastian immer wieder vorgeworfen wurde, sie seien "niedlich". Ich denke, der Vorwurf hört sich etwas ätzend an. Ein anderer Vorwurf dagegen, scheint mir zutreffender: God Save The Girl wirkt ganz so, als ob der Spielfilm auf einer Sammlung von Songs, auf einem Concept-Album basiere. Manchmal machen die schicken Retro-Kostüme den Eindruck, als ob wir uns gar nicht in Glasgow befänden, sondern in Frankreich während der 60er (denn die drei Musiker-Freunde sehen so aus als seien sie einer französischen 45er aus der Zeit entsprungen). Und Glasgow? Es wird gefilmt als fröhlicher, sonniger Ort, der manchmal auch eine herbstliche Stille ausstrahlt. Wo liegt nun das Problem? Murdochs Regie (ausgenommen die Musikeinlagen) ist lustlos, bis hin zur Aura eines Schlafwandlers. Einige schöne Dialoge können nicht darüber hinweg täuschen, dass er einfach keine dramaturgische Begabung besitzt. Murdoch kann seine Charaktere nicht zusammen bringen, es langt nur für ein paar Verbeugungen vor der Beat Ära. Es liegt mir wirklich fern, Künstlern Vorschläge zu machen. Trotzdem: Vielleicht wäre es besser gewesen, sämtliche Szenen mit Songs zu unterlegen? Die Geschichte einfach auf das Nötigste herunter zu schrauben und sich ganz auf das Flair der Musik zu verlassen? Denn der Soundtrack ohne Fehl und Tadel IST speziell! Den kann ich ohne Wenn & Aber empfehlen! unsere favorisierten Musikerfilme gibts dazu als Film List auf cinegeek.de
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The songs are catchy as is the case with most musicals but this one isn't memorable after the last shot. Browning gave a decent performance but not well enough to be great.
Not the best work by Browning but it's certainly an interesting story to explore from her character.
Thought it was a great analogy of a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of her battles and expressing it through the art of song.
Soulful. Sweet. The dancing scenes are weird... but I can watch this over and over again. The songs are great and there's something in each character that we all can connect to.