Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Girl Rising

The approach may have a distracting, overly fancy, diluting quality to it, but attention must nevertheless be paid to this film’s basic theme.

March 8, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1372908-Girl_Rising_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It can be a very scary world, especially for young females who in many countries suffer not only second-class (and much lower) status, but also a complete lack of education (denied to some 66 million of them), slavery, severe violence, sexual abuse and being sold into marriage. Girl Rising focuses on nine different girls who are doing their best to overcome mountainous obstacles, accompanied by dutiful voiceovers by concerned stars like Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek and Kerry Washington.

Among the girls, all desperate for schooling, are Sokha, a Cambodian orphan who has miraculously transformed herself into a gifted dancer; Ruksana, from India, who is blessed with a caring, sacrificing father (a true rarity); Nepalese Suma, who uses her music to help free others from the slavery she once endured; and Peruvian Senna, named after “Xena: Warrior Princess,” who is inspired by the poet Cesar Vallejo to honor the memory of her own supportive father who made her go to school.

It’s an undeniably vital and worthy subject, but too often the filmmakers get in their own way. While the noted writers involved with this project may lend literary cachet, the basic need in film to show and not tell is unwisely superseded by all those words, words, words, as with the redundant voiceover (“She decided to return to school the next day”) over the eminently clear footage of a girl carrying her composition book through her village. All of this merely dilutes the power of the important narrative.

Other fillips, like constantly interrupting the girls’ stories with fey compositions of young, multi-racial girls in a sylvan meadow, holding up signs bearing terrible statistics about internationally impoverished female lives, only add to the viewer’s impatience. A certain after-school-special preachiness sets in that is off-putting and counterproductive.

However, there’s no gainsaying the force—and often heartbreaking beauty and joy—of these young women’s tales, and if one can overlook all the extraneous appurtenances, this film does indeed reward.

In addition to its current theatrical engagements in New York and Los Angeles,
Girl Rising is being released via a demand-based theatrical distribution platform called Gathr. Nearly 450 screenings are now being organized nationwide.


Film Review: Girl Rising

The approach may have a distracting, overly fancy, diluting quality to it, but attention must nevertheless be paid to this film’s basic theme.

March 8, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1372908-Girl_Rising_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

It can be a very scary world, especially for young females who in many countries suffer not only second-class (and much lower) status, but also a complete lack of education (denied to some 66 million of them), slavery, severe violence, sexual abuse and being sold into marriage. Girl Rising focuses on nine different girls who are doing their best to overcome mountainous obstacles, accompanied by dutiful voiceovers by concerned stars like Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek and Kerry Washington.

Among the girls, all desperate for schooling, are Sokha, a Cambodian orphan who has miraculously transformed herself into a gifted dancer; Ruksana, from India, who is blessed with a caring, sacrificing father (a true rarity); Nepalese Suma, who uses her music to help free others from the slavery she once endured; and Peruvian Senna, named after “Xena: Warrior Princess,” who is inspired by the poet Cesar Vallejo to honor the memory of her own supportive father who made her go to school.

It’s an undeniably vital and worthy subject, but too often the filmmakers get in their own way. While the noted writers involved with this project may lend literary cachet, the basic need in film to show and not tell is unwisely superseded by all those words, words, words, as with the redundant voiceover (“She decided to return to school the next day”) over the eminently clear footage of a girl carrying her composition book through her village. All of this merely dilutes the power of the important narrative.

Other fillips, like constantly interrupting the girls’ stories with fey compositions of young, multi-racial girls in a sylvan meadow, holding up signs bearing terrible statistics about internationally impoverished female lives, only add to the viewer’s impatience. A certain after-school-special preachiness sets in that is off-putting and counterproductive.

However, there’s no gainsaying the force—and often heartbreaking beauty and joy—of these young women’s tales, and if one can overlook all the extraneous appurtenances, this film does indeed reward.

In addition to its current theatrical engagements in New York and Los Angeles,
Girl Rising is being released via a demand-based theatrical distribution platform called Gathr. Nearly 450 screenings are now being organized nationwide.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Drive Hard
Film Review: Drive Hard

A car-chase-heavy clunker whose vehicular set-pieces are almost as lame as the recurring sight of star John Cusack attempting to look cool while firing pistols. More »

Harmontown
Film Review: Harmontown

Open-nerve documentary about “Community” creator Dan Harmon’s chaotic live podcast tour after being fired from his own TV show is sometimes raggedly funny, but truly a fans-only artifact. More »

The Liberator
Film Review: The Liberator

Impressively mounted but overly truncated take on a great historical figure about whom much more needs to be known. More »

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
Film Review: The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin

Wide-ranging primer is involving but leaves some details hazy. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

The Boxtrolls
Film Review: The Boxtrolls

Another amazingly meticulous and stylish stop-motion tale from the Laika studio, this time focusing on a boy adopted by a population of maligned underground trolls. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here