Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

27 June 2008

Hey! Hey! It's Esther Blueberger, dir. Cathy Randall (2008)

NIKKI says:
This was a case of bad reviews drawing me to a film. If I'd not read the scathing bitch-slaps this one received in the papers, I probably would have passed it by. But, man, the hating was major on this. I had to see what all the fuss was about.

And so I was slightly prepared for something out of the ordinary. This is a very weird little movie about girls growing up in Australia and how status affects us and changes us. Esther is bullied at her swank private school and so, upon meeting the ultra-cool Sunni, decides to secretly enroll in Sunni's public school where she is respected as one of the weirdos. Soon, though, she changes to suit her environment in outrageous an offensive ways. Suddenly, even Sunni is wondering what happened to her funny little friend.

But there's a lot of aggression in Esther, and Sunni's group gives her an outlet. She goes over the top, so far over the top that she finds it hard to pull back. When the private school bitches discover her secret, she tells them she's a spy and is only acting out a mission at the public school. Suddenly, the bitchy girls love her, and Esther is suddenly torn between groups. Who is she and why? She neglects Sunni and her weirdo friends, and then tragedy strikes. Esther must patch her problems and find her way as this horrible event consumes Sunni. Suddenly, the pressures of school bullies and new raincoats becomes remarkably unimportant.

I don't know what the critics were on about. It is a difficult movie to enjoy. It's very strange, and Esther is not an easy character to relate to. But if you've ever been an unhappy, awkward teenage girl, you might have a better understanding of the events here. There's a fantastic element to the movie, too, so I think much of its oddness is over the top on purpose. I think the movie is very brave in tackling some of the things it does. It doesn't trivialise the lives of these girls, instead very much digging at the root causes of self-hatred, the effects of bad parenting, and the backwards structuring of the new education system to seems to want to quash creative impulses.

It's different -- and I wonder why oddball movies like Welcome to the Dollhouse receive great praises while this one is made to feel like a mess for going similar places? I love that an Aussie filmmaker has gone this way. It's something fresh.


Steve did not view.

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