Something a little lighter this week, or so you’d think of this seemingly innocuous coming-of-age tale. Whether or not it delivers what we were looking for is to be outlined below but one thing is certain right now: thank God I’m not 15 anymore.
Girl Asleep (2015)
The world is closing in on Greta Driscoll. On the cusp of turning fifteen she can’t bear to leave her childhood, it contains all the things that give her comfort in this incomprehensible new world.
Greta Driscoll (Bethany Whitmore) in new in school. Aged 14 and about to turn the big 1-5, she’s just about the most awkward kid in town, except not really because isn’t almost every kid this age a hot mess? God knows I was.
Anyway, she soon makes a new friend in Elliott (Harrison Feldman) but it doesn’t get off to the best start when she quickly bumps him for the popular girls. These Mean Girls aren’t nice but they decide they like Greta so she shares some agonising break times in their company.
Greta soon wises up though and commits herself to her new friendship with Elliott instead. Her mother Janet (Amber McMahon) is beside herself with delight when she brings him home for dinner. While at Greta’s house, she shares a secret with Elliott about a music box her mother gave her when she was a kid. She tells him the tale of The Huldra (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), a wild warrior woman who lives in the woods.
Living at home with Greta and her mother, are father Conrad (Matthew Whittet) – who has a pretty mean line in Dad-jokes – and sister Genevieve (Imogen Archer), who dates slick local boy Adam (Eamon Farren).
The story comes to a head when, against the explicit wishes of Greta, Janet invites all the kids from school to Greta’s fifteenth birthday party. G loses her shit until she realises it’s causing her folks to argue. When she reluctantly agrees, Janet promises her this is a right of passage she won’t regret.
On the night of the party, Greta has a run in with the Mean Girls, who feel rejected by her preference for Elliott. Jade and her twin hench-women, Amber and Sapphire out her publicly for having small boobs and humiliated, Greta falls out with Elliott too. Right after he’s admitted his feelings might be more than just friendly. Oops.
During the drama, Greta faints (I think) while a mystical creature steals her beloved music box. This leads her into the woods round the back of her home where she runs into the legendary Huldra who saves her from a tricky situation. During her adventures in the woods, in this creepy paralell world, she also meets The Abject Man (Old Gregg, anyone?), The Frozen Woman – and lots of wild and exciting creatures and characters, including French crooner, Beniot Tremet. Who tries to bone her in an extremely icky scene that shouldn’t exist, just saying.
Will Greta get back to her party and real life in one piece, I wonder? Will she make peace with her fifteen year old self – and more importantly, win back her one true friend, Elliott?
Well. I guess I don’t have to tell you there’s one really good way to find out.
While this film is harmless enough and kind of sweet, it also didn’t really do much for me. I went in with a notion that it would concentrate on the human element (in a The Diary of a Teenage Girl way) but instead I got budget Wes Anderson/The Mighty Boosh. Which might be unfair but I don’t care. I found it too try hard and now I read it was based on a play and I think that explains it all. Welcome to amateur hour.
I liked Greta and enjoyed her strength of character but I would have liked more focus on her friendship with Elliott and the conflict with her frenemies. Call me old-school.
What did my good lady wife Jillian think? Would she protect this one from creepy men in the forest or write an insulting song about it instead? Find out here, obvi. You know the rules by now.