Girl Asleep – A Review by Liz Casanova

Girl Asleep review from the WTXFF in Dallas a film by Rosemary Myers

GIRL ASLEEP

By Liz Casanova

Starring Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Matthew Whittet, Amber McMahon and Tilda Cobham-Hervey

Written by Matthew Whittet

Directed by Rosemary Myers

Running time 1h 17min

Selig Film Rating Full Price 

Fifteen is not really sugar and spice and everything nice. In fact, most girls are terrified of the changes going on in their bodies and their environment. At that age, perceptions are hypersensitive. Such is the case with Greta (Bethany Whitmore) in the fantastic coming-of-age retro fairytale Girl Asleep

Greta is about to turn 15, and her parents insist on throwing her an epic party. The problem is Greta is not ready for her universe to be disturbed. It's bad enough she is in a new school and she has no idea how to deal with bullies and boys. Speaking of boys, she does befriend an awkward but well-meaning ginger, Elliott (Harrison Feldman). And almost in the same breath, she has a run in with the intense popular femmes that are the school bullies. 

Her self-absorbed mom (Amber McMahon) and her fart-joking-telling dad (Matthew Whittet) pester her into submission, and she reluctantly agrees to a party. And it actually isn't that bad until her worst nightmares comes true. The second half of the film is a fantasy where Greta is confronted with her troubles. With a little help from a mysterious warrior (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) she faces her fears.

Girl Asleep touches the universal chord, but it also specifically speaks to every female that has gone through the change. It tells our story without being surface about it. This film is as layered as  its characters and color pallet, starting with the revelation that is Bethany Whitmore. I mean, I too was totally that shy girl refusing to give up the innocent self. But then there is the other side that is subtly revealed. That side that is curious about sexuality, for instance. Greta experiences that awakening every time she encounters her sister Genevieve's steaming hot and wildly exotic boyfriend Adam (Eamon Farren). The three gorgeous bullies represent the other female archetypes of that age. The ones who are popular and are mean because, well, if they are not, then they will be eaten alive. 

Director Rosemary Myers and writer Matthew Whittet (who, yes, is Greta's father Conrad) easily throw the characters from reality to fantasy. The set design and cinematography (Andrew Commis) is meticulously detailed. Everything means something and there is no wasted space. The fantasy part is definitely an allegory of the journey the little girl must take to get to the woman. 

I had the privilege of watching Girl Asleep at the Women Texas Film Festival, and the Texas Theatre was packed with a diverse group that also agreed that this one is a winner.

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