9min | Short, Drama | Short
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Director: Brian Percival
Writers: Julie Rutterford
Stars: Ashley Thewlis, John Slater, Sue Jaynes
IMDb summary: A girl tells the story of her life and hopes for the future.
PLEASE BE AWARE BEFORE YOU READ ON WE ARE NOT SPOILER-FREE. THANK YOU.
About a Girl Movie Review
Something has to be said about the British filmmakers and their ability to bring something as simple as a girl telling you about her life and turning it into something visceral and raw that begs for your attention. Once you can get around the accent (the girl’s accent is particularly strong), you can’t help but be captivated by what she has to say about her life in Northern Manchester. It’s entirely engrossing, which catches you off-guard.
The camera focus is solely on the “girl” who rattles off about her life living in Manchester, with the camera following her everywhere she goes. The presentation is almost like that of a documentary; you have the subject and the camera, and that’s all that there is to it. It’s as stripped-down as you’re ever going to get in a short film, and it’s completely unforgettable.
While listening to the girl, we are privy to a few wider shots that incorporate her family members. We see her interacting with her father (who is split from the mother, so the girl lives in a broken home). As a father, the dude is a bit of an asshole. He tells his daughter in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t want her living with him. When you drown everything else out and focus on what the girl is saying, you can tell she is yearning for the chance.
She also belittles her mother a few times, but it’s how she talks about her that tells a lot more than the girl is willing to admit. It’s a “listen between the lines” sort of thing. There is a lot the girl isn’t saying, but it’s all there if you listen hard enough. Her family situation is dire; her father doesn’t want her, her mother barely registers that she’s alive, and this curious and lively young girl is going to end up growing up way too fast for her years.
When she talks about her mother, she makes a point of saying that she hides things from her. There is an obvious barrier between this girl and her mother. We don’t know how it happened, but one can hazard a guess. It’s just so sad to hear someone talk about their family like they can’t wait to get away from them. It’s actually quite heartbreaking. When you know that while this may be a film, it’s a film that captures life as it is in many cities.
What I take away from this is that life is hard and people are barely scraping by. You make do with what you have, and there’s no use having dreams. Dreams are for princesses in fairytales, not for teenage girls in Manchester. And as focused as she sounds about getting out of this shitty situation, you can’t help but feel like she just won’t.
The film’s final scenes bring all of that home as the camera moves away from the girl and focuses on the bag that she’s thrown into the canal…
If you’re feeling curious or just wandering why we’ve rated this short film 4.5/5 stars, you can check out About a Girl right here on YouTube: