Girl Asleep (2015)

Girl Asleep
Director: Rosemary Myers
Writer: Matthew Whittet
Based on: his own play
Cast: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Amber McMahon, Matthew Whittet, Eamon Farren, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle Catanzariti
Seen on: 6.4.2017

Greta (Bethany Whitmore) is almost 15 and just started at a new school where she is befriended by Elliott (Harrison Feldman). When her well-meaning mother (Amber McMahon) wants to help her find her social footing by throwing a birthday party for Greta and inviting everyone, Greta is mortified. Feeling the pressure of the situation and of growing up in general, it’s no surprise that some of Greta’s fantasies my run away from her a little bit.

Girl Asleep is a funny and sweet film that shines when it works with fantasies but loses a bit of its glow when it turns to more mundane moments. Nevertheless, it’s a coming-of-age film that is worth checking out even in a well-saturated genre.

It’s hard to do something new with films that are about teenagers, well, being teenagers. It’s a rather well-explored topic that has inspired many writers and filmmakers already. So it’s not surprising that Girl Asleep isn’t exactly revelatory in its content. That being said, there is something special about the film’s commitment to being weird.

It exchanges the high gloss/big budget aesthetics that often come with its genre for a decidedly artistic touch in its imagery and it works very well. There’s not only the fact that the film is set in the 70s, but the vivid closeness of Greta’s fantasies that spill into the film are echoed by the stylized elements of Greta’s reality. Both parts of the film are captured beautifully and while the low budget can be seen in many of the costumes (which, to me, adds another layer where reality and fantasy become mixed), the cinematography manages to give everything flair.

Greta’s story is told with a sense of humor and poking a bit of fun at Greta herself, it always takes her seriously enough to give the story emotional weight. Whitmore does a great job with keeping Greta grounded enough even through the flights of fancy that the audience never loses a sense for her.

All of this makes Girl Asleep a film that would breeze by even if it hadn’t been as short as it is (not even 80 minutes). It’s a sweet, quick trip into liminal spaces.

Summarizing: Light and weird.

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