|'Eve has some extremely serious problems, but in Murdoch's musical world they are rarely anything more than a spur for a ballad or the refrain after the chorus.'|
Therein lies the central problem of God Help The Girl, a film which cannot decide whether it wants to be deliberately serious with some accidental charm or deliberately charming with some accidental seriousness. Whilst the first option from those two might produce something good, the second leaves the film open to accusations of flippancy, which is exactly how Murdoch's narrative eventually comes across. Eve (Emily Browning) has some extremely serious problems, but in Murdoch's musical world they are rarely anything more than a spur for a ballad or the refrain after the chorus.
With that as a very unsound scripting basis around which to build a film, Murdoch compounds the problem by producing something which visually looks like a Wes Anderson film, minus the finesse and plot wise develops into something that Morrissey would produce if he was even more annoyingly introspective. With James (Olly Alexander) and Cassie (Hannah Murray) in tow as part of her musical self-help journey, Eve comes across such fantastical delights as a song talking to a dog (featuring whistling). When Cassie is introduced she does provide some much-needed balance to Eve and, in particular, James' incessant tweeness, which becomes more and more overbearing the further through the film you get.
Browning, who I've recently seen in this, Summer In February and Legend, keeps on taking parts which play to her natural vulnerability. There's nothing wrong with that and she can play to it very effectively, but, as in this, it does her no favours if the direction can't bring out something else about the character as well. Murray shows promise, whilst Alexander, like much of the rest of the film, is just too mired in horrible student production-like stylisation to stand out.