God Help the Girl
Me and the musicals, chapter 25.
My relation with musicals has been an excruciating one. The vast majority of them are...umm... how to put it politely, ridiculous. Annoyingly shallow, empty films with never-ending choreography's and little-to-zero worries on the script, which are usually lame. And although that's not the case with 'God Help the Girl', it's hard for me to consider it a triumph.
For sure, it's an ok movie, with gorgeous music (couldn't be any other way? We are talking about Stuart Murdoch) some charming visual/music numbers and wonderful aesthetics (if you are into that contemplative-clothing-advertisement, 110% hipster look). There are occasional sparks of brilliance, in the form of witty one liners and some funny conversation about music. Plus, of course, it has Scotland in the background. Special vibes.
But being completely honest, is that what makes a film worth praising? I have my doubts, which mainly are addressed to Murdoch’s script. He has the ability of putting many feelings in the songs, something he has proven for almost twenty years now, but what happens when there's no music? It might be just me, but 'God Help the Girl' suffers, at times, quite painfully, when actors have to deal with words and situations. And not because they aren't trying. Emily Browning is convincing as the fragile but at the same time determined Eve. Olly Alexander is perfect as James, the smart-sensible-shy-but a bit snobbish guitarist. And Hannah Murray is the carefree, lovely loony Cass, the last vortex of the triangle involving romance, friendship and a wonderful bunch of songs. And THE GENTLEMAN, the great Neil Hannon, has a fantastic tune too!
No, the problem is not the acting. In my opinion, 'God Help the Girl' has an awkward tone and an even more odd balance between the story of Eve issues, a pretty serious drama, and the story of of creating a (very hipster and yes, utterly talented) pop band while dealing with friendship-romance. Sure, it all sums for a coming of age tale, but the contrast makes the movie feel a bit strange & disjointed from scene to scene (or from scene to song). The overall feeling I had is that I'm in front of a long videoclip (quoting the words from Antonio Llarena from my beloved When Nalda Became Punk). It's a nice one? Well, the music, for the most part, is wonderful, and each time there's a song, the movie achieves a level of grace... that almost evaporates once the music is over. Besides, it kind of annoys me the amount of importance the aesthetics have. I get the costumes are connected with the songs they are playing but to that extent? It makes "God Help the Girl" look like the poppiest verision of an H&M advertisement.
So, me and the musicals, chapter 25? Probably among the best musical soundtracks... but far from the best movie.