I first time I saw the film Girl was randomly and was definitely on a Saturday. I wanted to watch and caught it from the beginning due to actress Dominique Swain as the lead and Swain at the time was a popular choice of independent films, and especially so after gaining a lot of attention for her turn in the 1997 remake of Lolita. I wasn’t sure what Girl would be about, I don’t even think I bothered to read the info, but usually anything with Swain I really enjoyed.
I still can’t recall “the backwater town” it’s supposed to take place in, but it’s strongly based on the grunge-rock scene of the early ’90s that originated in Oregon and Washington. Back then, I found everything charming about this movie and its strong-willed girl power dialogue. The protagonist’s interesting mix of naivete and awareness of what she wants made me feel like a voyeur of the teenage experience outside of school exams and pleasing your parents. The film definitely explores her sexual awakening with Todd Sparrow, the local rock star with whom initiates her pangs of first love. While reviews of the film described her experience as of the “groupie” kind, she’s kind of a feminist’s nightmare but a third wave representative as even when she’s a tad bit over her head when she revels in boys and adventures that challenge her straight-laced upbringing, she’s also highly likable and is pretty determined. Basically, you can’t blame a girl for wanting to life in the moment while she still can afford to. The story actually reminds me of Omar Tyree’s novel Flyy Girl which explores a similar concept of a teenage girl that is desperate for experiences and while some of those roads led to some tempestuous mistakes, their confidence in that they still got what they wanted broke apart those previous dark clouds of maybe I shouldn’t have bothered. That analysis may sound backwards, but in the minds of these teenagers, the rationalization allows them some form of preservation.
This late ’90s coming of age story is an underrated gem in sharing the story of an everyday girl went from being a sweet wallflower to a self-assured go-getter. She wants more than what’s been only introduced to her by others. In viewing, you’ll also see the before fame presence of actresses Tara Reid (who displayed some impressive vocals as the front-woman of her band) Selma Blair, Clea DuVall, and Portia di Rossi (who owned her blonde dreadlocks as a part of her look), as well as supporting roles from Summer Phoenix (Joaquin’s sister), and Sean Patrick Flannery (Sparrow).
Below is part 1 of the film, and from there, links to the other parts of there to see the entire film. Press play!