Thanks to Simonne for this guest post:
I saw the movie, The Dead Girl, directed by Karen Montcrieff (The Blue Car) the other night and I must say I was a tad disappointed.
Toni Collette is wonderful as usual as the introverted ‘stranger’, Arden, who finds the murdered body of a young woman named Krista near her house. The body of Krista ends up on a stainless steel table in front of Leah, ‘the sister’, a forensics graduate student whose sister went missing as a child.
Leah is convinced that the body is that of her sister and attempts to achieve some closure with her parents around the sister’s disappearance/death. We are then introduced to Ruth ‘the wife’, who discovers a horrifying connection between her husband and Krista’s murder.
‘The mother’ of the dead girl, superbly played by Marcia Gay Harden, whose daughter had been a runaway is called upon to identify the body after Arden has reported it to the police. She goes searching for answers about Krista’s life and ends up with more than she bargained for.
‘The girl’, Krista, played by Britney Murphy closes out the story in a powerful flashback sequence where we learn of the incidences that led up to her death.
The film is essentially five short films about five different women played one after the other. This works well and the performances are powerful, particularly those of Harden and Collette. In fact, the first sequence with Collette, Giovanni Ribisi and Piper Laurie is quite wonderful, the best of the lot to my mind, and worthy of further exploration, or a film all of its own.
What I was disappointed about was that I was expecting this film to be more subversive in how it dealt with the effects of the rape/murder of a young woman. It deals with the ‘what happens after the event’ scenarios that the scores of TV shows dedicated to the rape and murder of women never mention.
The fact that the woman is young, attractive, a prostitute, on drugs etc just fits the same old standard model. I was expecting more of a side step from this model, but still, it’s worth seeing.
And for what it’s worth, the first scene does subvert some of these typical portrayals with an interesting dynamic between Arden (Colette) and Rudy (Ribisi), the supermarket worker fascinated by the death and by serial killers in general.
Maybe wait until it’s out on DVD, but make sure you see it.