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Girl Review

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A pre-college, rites-of-passage tale where pubescent teen Andrea Marr (Swain) becomes utterly infatuated with grungy rock star Todd Sparrow (Flanery in a clean-shaven, clear-eyed riff on Kurt Cobain), and despite his rather slovenly and unhygienic habits - shagging a groupie in a Portaloo for one - still harbours a burning desire to be the love of his life.

★★★★★

It's always interesting to see a movie that has so much faith in its youngish, semi-unknown rising stars, without resorting to any form of bankable guarantee (either in genre or personnel). But while Girl certainly fits the bill, it will probably remain a point of interest for the film aficionado only, unlikely to become anyone's all-time fave.

A film that might have had more resonance towards the start of the decade before (in this country, at least) boy bands spread inexorably across bedroom walls, it is, in essence, a reasonable examination of this long-standing, 20th century phenomenon.

There are moments of dry, quirky humour, but when you're more prone to unintended amusement from misjudged scenes - Flanery tinkling the opening bars of a watery ballad to display his sensitive side, for example - it's never a good sign. Swain is better than this (as Lolita clearly showed) and will hopefully receive the material to prove it in future, Flanery too has registered more impressive performances and should be wary of relying on his undisputed pretty-boy looks - his billiard-ball appearance in Powder, all hairless and shiny white pate, notably remains his best work to date.

Comes unstuck by striving for a degree of personal realism that apparently excuses Swain's voiceover - which ranges from off-putting to excruciating - and the absence of any sympathetic characters.

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