Chad Faust’s Girl was the dull point during Fantastic Fest, and Bella Thorne gave one of her worst performances to date. When your film includes a nameless protagonist and other nameless characters, it would be nice to have them fleshed out in other areas. The film has something to say about cycles of abuse and family turmoil. Sadly, Girl is a dull drama with almost no redeeming qualities.
Girl is a coming of age film about a young woman discovering that most of her life has been a lie. The premise is intriguing, but the execution is a misfire, unfortunately. Behind all of its themes regarding loyalty and abuse, is a film that could have been much better. It’s not the narrative itself, but the performances from the actors don’t seem to do justice for this material. Directed and written by Chad Faust, Girl stars Bella Thorne, Mickey Rourke, Chad Faust, Lanette Ware, Elizabeth Saunders, and John Talbot. Girl follows a woman (Thorne) returning to her hometown to kill her father, but someone has already taken his life the day before she arrived.
The reason Girl comes to her father’s town is because of a threatening message sent to her mother, but that ends up being half of the truth. After the discovery, she spends time searching for answers and unravels a family secret. As mentioned, the characters involved have generic names or none at all. The names are their positions in the town or role in Girl’s (Thorne) life. For instance, Rourke stars as the town sheriff so his name is Sheriff, and the girl is Girl. Her name not being disclosed may be to represent other women who have been abused by men in the past. Faust doesn’t do enough here for you to care about this woman, or her issues honestly. The dialogue between these characters is nauseating at times since none of the performers seem to care and come off like they just needed something to do. There is some sense of growth for our protagonist, in the end, so she is at least developed throughout the film.
Thorne’s performance is lackluster at best because she has this awful accent throughout and her delivery comes off as uninterested. Girl probably would have ended up a lot better if the performances were done differently. Rourke is fine, but he comes off just as uninspired and bland. Still, his performance is enough to make it clear that the sheriff in town is corrupt after he stalks Thorne’s character when she arrives in town. Faust stars in the film as well, as some assistant to Rourke and they are after something from this girl’s father. Girl was just a poor outing performance-wise, and it’s no help when your lead character is horribly brought to life.
Faust does show potential as a director, Girl has a solid pace, and he manages to make you uncomfortable during a lot of her interactions with these men in her life. He effectively builds tension throughout and captures some intense action sequences. The look of the film helps establish the dark nature of the town and the cloud hanging over our protagonist’s life. Faust has a good film in him, but this debut is watered down by weak performances and a subpar script. There are twists, but again, everyone seemingly doesn’t care about the material they are working with, so as a viewer you won’t care either.
Girl is a bleak revenge film that features some of Rourke and Thorne’s worst performances to date, but its themes of abuse might be enough to satisfy some viewers in the end. However, it is important to mention that the film doesn’t even seem like it’s about our protagonist at times, so it’s clunky in that way. A clunky revenge tale that pits a nameless woman against nameless men.