Starring Morgan Saylor and Brian Marc, White Girl (a reference to the main character, as well as a cocaine reference) is the work of first-time feature length film director and writer, Elizabeth Wood.
If you notice, this movie has no rating and I could not find one anywhere. So, let me start off by saying, I have no problem with sex scenes – not even graphic sex scenes – particularly if within the context of the movie these scenes are relevant and/or necessary to evoke emotion or make some point. But to have sex scene after sex scene, after sex scene – boy/girl, girls/girl, threesomes, on rooftops, in cars, in clubs… We get it! The girl is wild. She likes drugs and lots of them so she does a lot of drugs, she likes sex and a lot of it so she has a lot of sex. Her friends like drugs and sex, they do drugs and have sex. By the time the fifth or sixth sex scene occurred, I had already clearly gotten the point that this is a naïve, wild child who uses extremely poor judgment and puts herself in harm’s way nearly every day of her manufactured life. Oh yes. And she likes to do drugs and have sex. The unfortunate thing is that this fifth or sixth sex scene was an important scene, but by the time it happened, I was over it. The final sex scene (number “I lost friggin’ count” at this point) was important as well, but I had been through so many sex scenes by then, it just didn’t even matter anymore. Maybe that was the point. I can’t really say. But if there were fewer sex scenes, these two scenes would have stood out more and been much more powerful and meaningful when they occurred. This is a time where less would have been more.
While the emphasis on drugs and sex as a lifestyle was indelibly impressed, the message of inequality in the justice system was glossed over like some minor detail. Almost as if it were just thrown in as an afterthought to make the movie even more hip and current than it already attempts to be, since it is solely mentioned in one line by one character, and stated very matter-of-factly with no follow up dialogue about it. Otherwise, it need not have been mentioned at all.
Speaking of current, one of the film’s stars, Justin Bartha states in an article with Vanity Fair that this film is “current and irreverent.” Irreverant it surely is, but aside from the mention of the disparity in sentences meted out between white and non-white, rich and poor, this film examines a lot of the things that have been going on since the beginning of time, including but not limited to, drugs, sex, “interracial” dating, class systems, prejudice, privilege, etc. The film is also reminiscent of many coming of age movies where drugs, wild behavior and naiveté are combined. One positive thing this film does demonstrate is how girls who are on a path to something positive can get caught up with a boy, lose focus, lose themselves, lose sight of their goals, and lose everything. Another message I took away is that because this girl is white and comes from what appears to be a middle class family, when she walks within a world of drugs with poor, non-whites she can do things they cannot because she is not perceived the way they are, despite the fact that she is the most obvious, unruly and reckless one of the bunch. Finally, the last message seemed to be white people beware of sending your white daughters to the big city to go to college. As if this girl wasn’t wild enough on her own when she arrived.
This is a film that attempts to be “bold,” “daring,” and “cutting edge,” that simply is not. It almost devolves into just a junkie, skanky, slut-fest where you can barely feel any sympathy for the main character because she makes the most foolish decisions again and again and again and again, until she just seems stupid and annoying.
Morgan Saylor offers up some solid acting as this oblivious, super-naïve, “white girl,” who has no idea of the danger she regularly places herself in while in her haze. I understand what it is like to be young and wild, and young and stupid, but to be young, wild and stupid is a disastrous combination – regardless of one’s ethnicity. Ms. Saylor pulls it off well here. She is just stumbling through life by the grace of God, just as all proverbial fools and babies do. Acting like a grownup doing what she believes to be “grown-up things,” but with the mind-set of a child, as so many young adults do when we are trying to find ourselves. Brian Marc as the sensitive drug dealer was less convincing in his role. In his defense, I believe he may have done the best he could with a very complex character that wasn’t very well written. Judgmental anti-drug taking drug dealer, romantic, cry baby (according to his peers), living with grandma, been locked up a couple of times before, no goals, no dreams, no prospects. He had to attempt to navigate between being a tough, street-wise drug dealer and this sensitive, sometimes romantic, throwaway kid who was living a life that was chosen for him, rather than one he chose. He was not very convincing at pretending to be a tough guy – unless that was intentional as well. I’m not even sure and don’t think I really care. The rest of the cast did a decent job with the material they had to work with.
Anyway, White Girl earned 5 out of 10 bloops. I would consider it worth a watch if you don’t have to pay (thank goodness I did not have to). Younger people may like it better because it features younger people, but I don’t believe a pair of younger eyes will make this movie any better than it is.
Revision: White Girl earned 6 bloops out of 10. After sleeping on it, I did see how an attempt to show the inequality between whites and non-whites in the justice system was further emphasized. It just wasn’t shown clearly enough, and the message was still overshadowed by the mostly unnecessarily gratuitous sex scenes. Still would not advise paying to see it, because the message is delivered tepidly. One thing one does not want in what could have been a much more powerful movie, is a tepid approach to the subject matter.