Fredrik Edfeldt’s feature debut is the type of film I long for and rarely get: a beautifully shot film which captures as much emotion and story from silence as it does from any dialogue.
The Girl is a simple story of a 9 ½ year old girl that through a series of events ends up alone while the rest of her family goes on a mission to Africa. But this is noHome Alone full of comedic adventure instead, it’s the story a look at the worlds we create as children, the observations, choices and mistakes we make all of which help shape the adults we later become.
Karin Arrhenius’ script may be thin but works beautifully when teamed with Edfeldt’s strong visual style, a style which is pushed well beyond simple beauty by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema who manages to create a much warmer but equally haunting landscape as he did with last year’s very successful Let the Right One In. What I love best about Edfeldt’s film is that it constantly plays on expectation, using both music and visuals that thrive on what viewers expect from a story of a little girl alone, in the middle of the countryside with strangers popping in and out.
Together with an outstanding performance from Blanca Engström who carries the film beautifully with a nuanced performance for one so young, The Girl is both haunting and a wonderful reminder of what it’s like to be young and carefree. Though at times scary and sad, I found The Girl to be a wonderful celebration of youth and the power of the imagination. Some may find the film’s languid pacing tedious but for those who can appreciate the power of the image and the strength of the unspoken, The Girl is simply a must; an exceptional debut for a director who will undoubtedly be one to watch.
See VIFF screening schedule for show times.