Friday, September 10, 2010

REVIEWFLIX: The Exploding Girl (2010)

(Usual deal, reviewing a film I recently watched and the title links to it on netflix if you want to add it to your queue. Leading off with the DVD art instead of a poster this time because I love the look of it so much.)

Not sure how many of you have heard of this film, but I have been looking forward to seeing it for quite a while. First heard about it via a feature article in Filmmaker back in late 2009/early 2010 and really enjoyed the director's (Bradley Rust Gray) commentary on film-making, collaboration, and inspiration. That said, first thing I did after work Tuesday (day of its DVD release) was load it up on the Netflix Instant and enjoyed every minute of it.

The film centers on Ivy, played amazingly by Zoe Kazan, as she comes back home for spring break and deals with the transition from teen/child to being an adult. Dealing with everything from relationships to illness to friendships on a mature level, Ivy goes through a transition that we rarely see featured in a serious/dramatic film and that some us are not to far removed from. ;) While this simple story and brilliant performance were enough to satisfy me, the camera work brought the film to a higher level of greatness.

Shot with a long of long lenses and shots the film brings us in to Ivy's life without letting us in all the way, following in line with the film and how Zoe keeps people at a distance. These couple with suffocating close ups when she is alone in her room on the phone or waiting for it to ring, capturing her frustration precisely and keeping the viewer invested in her relationships. While all these things were great about the film the one shot you just barley see, as the camera respects her privacy, and have been expecting most of the film is one of the most memorable. Relating to the viewer that while we know her and are invested in her life, we don't really "know" her and aren't automatically privy to extreme situations.

A solid film that is going to stay with me for quite a while, I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I know its probably not for everyone but if anything in my review sparked your interest I highly recommend you check it out. Another solid film distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, and you have to love how all of their films are available on Netflix instant the day they are released.


  1. I've been looking forward to this for a while, I didn't think it would be available on instant streaming. Gray is often (or always) a collaborator with Korean filmmaker So Yong Kim (produced this one?). As I understand their relationship, one directs while the other produces and they trade off that way...

    Both Gray and Kim co-wrote In Between Days, which I didn't think was particularly great but definitely clued me in to keep an eye on what these creators were doing. I enjoyed Kim's directing, but she really drives "real-life" portrayal home to the point of having an almost non-ending, which just isn't satisfying to me. Glad you liked The Exploding Girl, I'll have to check it out as soon as I can.

  2. Yeah, Gray talked about her a lot in the interview I read and I am eventually going to check out her/their other stuff. They have three or four films together if I'm not mistaken, have you seen others?