Melbourne International Film Festival: God Help The Girl (UK, 2014)

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Written and directed by Belle and Sebastian’s lead singer Stuart Murdoch, God Help The Girl is an indie musical that follows three twenty-somethings in their attempt to form a pop band.

The talented, young cast are a delight to watch as they sing and perform quirkily choreographed dance routines. The film switches between a musical style where the songs are sung simply as though they are part of everyday conversation, to performances where the characters are made aware of the peculiar timing and style of song.

Australia’s Emily Browning takes the lead as Eve, who is struggling with an eating disorder and continually escapes from her treatment centre. She meets James (lead singer of Years & Years, Olly Alexander) and with his guitar student Cassie (Hannah Murray) they decide to form a band.

Hannah Murray provides plenty of comedic relief throughout the film, in what is seemingly a direct reprise of her role in the 2007 cast of Skins, made even more evident by the characters sharing the same name and wardrobe.

The songs are upbeat, catchy and sweetly sung by the trio. There has been time to fine-tune them of course, with the soundtrack already released as a Belle & Sebastian record in 2009 to be rerecorded by the film’s cast. Unlike most of Belle and Sebastian’s work, female vocalists play the main role.

While the script is littered with clichéd references and themes, the visual appeal, music and sincere acting make God Help The Girl a refreshing and joyful film to watch.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

God Help The Girl was reviewed as part of the 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival.

By Amelia Barnes.

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