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White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

White Bird in a Blizzard poster.jpg

Gregg Araki figured big on the Nineties film festival circuit and his edgy teen fare was a key part of queer/indie cinema. I think Mysterious Skin is his best work, and that came out in 2004. This adaptation of a novel by Larua Kasischke is an unsatisfying drama but strangely it’s the first film in which I find Shailene Woodley remotely tolerable. Normally she makes me want to peel my face from my skull: I cannot articulate why. Another problem for me and no doubt her is that the role here required her to get her top off, an issue for a lot of young actresses, although I don’t think Meryl Streep ever got that particular memo. It’s the late Eighties and Mom Eva Green disappears, leaving Kat (Woodley) living alone with her dad (Christopher Meloni). Instead of grieving, Kat has sex with her next door neighbour, Phil (Shiloh Fernandez) and the detective (Thomas Jane) in charge of the investigation.Therapy has no effect on her whatsoever:  she just has sex. A few years later she’s at college and comes home for the vacation. Dad’s got a love interest,  Jane tells her he thinks Dad killed Mom and her friends remind her that when they tried to convince her that’s what must have happened she just didn’t listen. They wonder why the freezer in the basement rec room is padlocked … and somehow all her fantasy memories of Mom in the snow make sense. Sigh. Not much mystery here then and the final revelation isn’t rocket science. The soundtrack is great though.


About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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