Set to a pulse-pounding soundtrack, Girlhood encapsulates the careless, giddy energy of teendom, but much like its protagonist, is a little confused with its own identity.
Girlhood Interrupted by Dave O’Flanagan
Set in the outskirts of Paris, writer/director Céline Sciamma’s story of familial and societal oppression is an entertaining yet sometimes incohesive experience. Thriving in the scenes where its focus is locked on the giddy energy of teenage antics, Girlhood is excellent at capturing the experience of adolescence. While it’s an easy comparison to make, the film triumphs in capturing the small moments much like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood did earlier in the year. There are several of these stand-out moments, including a superbly shot neon-infused scene involving four friends lip-syncing to Rihanna’s Diamonds as well as a very funny game of crazy golf that gets unforeseeably emotional. Karidja Touré is magnetic as Marieme (aka Vic), her subtle and moving performance highlights real emotional depth under her strong silent type façade. Despite a rather grim future outlook as well as the usual societal oppression faced by teenagers to conform, the tone of the film is relatively light-hearted. When it does shift gears and Marieme finds herself in a completely different and more sinister situation, it feels rushed and incohesive. There’s nothing wrong with this progression in theory, but the film is most insightful when acting as a snapshot of French adolescence. Coupled with an excellent electronic soundtrack, Girlhood grows up too fast and is at its best when its focus is on teenagers being teenagers.
Girlhood is showing on Oct 16th, 17th & 18th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival