Wednesday, 9 March 2016
God Help the Girl
Let's Put on a Show
God Help the Girl is the directorial film début of Stuart Murdoch of the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. The film is based on Stuart's off-shoot musical project that featured all-female singers and resulted in an album called God Help the Girl. The film also resulted in a soundtrack album, only this time sung by the actors in the film. So, trying not to confuse, God Help the Girl the original album begot God Help the Girl the film begot God Help the Girl the soundtrack album. Got that?
The film was shot in Glasgow and centres on a young woman called Eve played by Emily Browning — a native Melbournian, Australian chums. Eve is a beautiful catastrophe who is struggling with an eating disorder and finds solace in music as an aspiring songwriter. As new relationships develop one summer, she joins a band and seeks to abandon the problems of her past and find a rosier path towards the future.
If this sounds in any way heavy, it's the failing of my poor synopsis. The film is actually an engaging and whimsical musical adventure that is infused with eccentricity and dialogue that expresses the innocent knowingness of youth; and where the characters will suddenly burst into song and dance. I suppose it's like an old-fashioned Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney musical of the 'Hey, let's put on a show' variety, but with a dash of low-key indie — something that will appeal to fogeys and hip young things alike.
My favourite song from the film would have to be the rather pleasant Pretty Eve in the Tub. If you like this video, you will like the film.
There are minor off-key moments and gaps in the plot, but the overall charm of the film entirely wins out and outweighs any weaknesses. Don't expect high-budget production values or the hyper-confidence and sexuality in Hollywood's youth-oriented output. This is a British independent film through-and-through.
The film reminded me in some ways of Georgy Girl —a perennial favourite at Tweed Towers — both films portraying a voyage of self-discovery for a young woman.
Nice Tweeds and Sweaters
Eve's friends in the film, James and Cassie, are engagingly played by Olly Alexander and Hannah Murray. Olly's character was decked out in some smashing kit: the tweed suits and jackets you see above — Is that a Walker Slater suit? — and the Aran sweater below.
If you fancy getting hold of a similar sweater, Peregrine Clothing do a nice chunky, limited-edition Aran in a textured yarn. You will still get mileage out of it in a British summer, particularly in Scotland (as James does in the film).