Thursday, 19 January 2017


Elizabeth Wood devises an argument against the artistic conservatism of so much American cinema, particularly that which purports to trade in grit and frankness, in a very American movie. In showing, she too tells, and with a deference to unvarnished realism that only bolsters her argument. White Girl is a vivid, intoxicating hit of cinematic cocaine, one heavenly upper with one hell of a downer. Its candour comes with a necessary fecklessness, an apt reflection of its narrative content, in spite of its resolutely, refreshingly non-judgemental position. This apparent lack of care is not quite carelessness - Wood exhibits an artful, sensitive directorial touch at the film's most crucial junctures, and prevents it from slipping into cheap salacity. It does serve to make White Girl more memorable than consequential, however, though memorable it indubitably is. Its stimulating, provocative final act aside, Wood intends her picture to communicate at least some small part of the indulgent insolence of a life lived willingly, briefly on society's dangerous, enticing edges. It's a privilege for her lead, if perhaps more of a statement on the privilege of her lead, and Wood's perceptive blend of unprejudiced objectivity and empathetic immediacy make the film something of a privilege for us to watch as well. White Girl shows, tells, and makes the absolute most of what it can do to us in the process; this is a balls-deep experience, as sore, as sweaty and as satisfying as it should be.