Why I Saw It: I like seeing good performances by young actors with whom I’m not otherwise familiar, and Juno Temple is someone who was garnering plenty of praise from the critics. As this was one of her signature roles, I had to tune in when I saw that it was available.
What Was It About? “Danielle is the dirty girl of Norman High School. When Danielle’s misbehavior gets her banished to special ed, she teams up with an innocent closet-case and together they head out on a road trip to discover each other and themselves through a funny and serendipitous friendship.“
Rating: 8.2 out of 10
Memorable Performances: Though I wouldn’t expect any of these performances to be nominated for an Academy Award, DIRTY GIRL was filled with good performances from a variety of actors. First and foremost, Juno Temple did really well with a very complex character, showing an incredible range of emotion. Her interplay with Mila Jovovich, who portrays her mother in the film, really shows you what the character is all about, beyond the surface. It’s also fun to see the interactions between Temple and newcomer Jeremy Dozier, as both characters grow tremendously over the course of the film, and both actors should be commended for their performances.
It should come as no surprise that William H Macy nailed his part as a potential stepfather-figure with a very conservative parenting perspective. I’ve yet to see Macy in something where he wasn’t good at getting the audience to connect with his character. Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam also shined in lesser roles, as did Tim McGraw.
Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:
- Best Actress – Juno Temple
Favorite Parts: There aren’t too many scenes in this film that I can point to as being “favorites”, it’s more about the entire experience of the film and the interactions of the various characters. The ending of the film, with the transformation one character makes as their journey comes to a close and they deal with the emotions involved, was a very strong aspect of the movie. I also hope viewers take notice of how the “baby” is used throughout the film, because it really is a nice touch by the director which could easily go unnoticed.
The Regrettable Aspects: The film could have been significantly elevated if there could have been a few more key scenes, or improved dialogue. It felt like a really, really good rough draft – which I almost hate to say, given the fact that I enjoyed this film a lot more than a few hundred other movies I’ve seen in my lifetime. It just seemed to have more potential than it accomplished. People should be talking about this movie like they talk about Juno, and it’s a shame they’re not. Also, it’s perhaps regrettable that the film is called “Dirty Girl”, because I feel weird recommending it to people without having a disclaimer ahead of it, and I’m sure that fewer people stumble upon it based on the title.
Would I watch it again? I’ll probably watch it again within the next week or two so that some of my friends and family get a chance to see it.
To Whom Would I Recommend It? Anyone who liked Juno should see it, and anyone who likes character-driven drama-comedies.
- JUNO - Gee, could I mention JUNO enough here? The moment I made the connection between the two films, it just felt right. Having recently watched it again, thanks to whatever cable network was showing it, I have a renewed respect for that film.
- MOONRISE KINGDOM - It’s another film with great performances about kids who don’t really fit in with the environment they’re living, and they find a kindred spirit with whom they can explore the world, grow and embark on a journey.
- AN EDUCATION - A great performance piece where a girl tries to find her place in the world.
If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to DIRTY GIRL, or for other similar films, let me know!
Next up… Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm!