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Movies on DVD Review: The Dead Girl



Five powerful vignettes.

Starring Toni Collette, Piper Laurie, Giovanni Ribisi, Rose Byrne, James Franco, Mary Steenburgen, Bruce Davison, Marcia Gay Harden, Kerry Washington, Brittany Murphy, and Josh Brolin. Directed by Karen Moncrieff

For those of you looking for a straight-forward movie, this probably isn’t for you. Instead writer/director Karen Moncrieff presents six 15-minute films that comprise the whole.

“The Mother” – Arden (Collette) is a meek, sullen woman constantly harassed and harangued by her domineering mother (Laurie). When Arden finds the body of a dead girl on the outskirts of her property, she incurs questioning by the police and the wrath of her mom. She meets a grocery store clerk (Ribisi) and runs off with him.

“The Sister” – Leah (Byrne) is a forensics student who prepares the body of the dead girl for autopsy. She’s on antidepressants and takes counseling for the fact that her parents (Steenburgen and Davison) will not stop looking for her younger sister, who has been missing for years. She finds solace in fellow student Derek (James Franco).

“The Wife” – Mary Beth Hurt plays a woman who helps run her husband’s storage unit facility. When he goes absent and she’s forced to do his job she discovers a storage unit that has a dresser filled with bloody clothes. He returns and she tries to question him about it, as well as if she should go to the police or not.

“The Mother” – Melora (Harden) is the mother of the dead girl, Krista (Murphy). She finds her daughter’s last place of residence and meets Rosetta (Washington), her daughter’s roommate and lover. Rosetta tells her about Krista, why Krista ran away, and that Krista has a baby girl named Ashley. Melora goes to pick up Ashley from her Hispanic caregiver and tries bonding with Rosetta.

“The Dead Girl” – Krista (Murphy) is a prostitute, drug addict, and mother. She ran away from her home in Washington and lives in SoCal. After a fight with her boyfriend (Brolin) to get a ride to Norwalk to drop off a plush bunny for her kid, she makes it back to her place and finds that Rosetta has been hit by her boyfriend. She takes a motorcycle, exacts revenge, and then winds up without gas on the highway. She’s picked up by Carl (Nick Searcy), the husband from “The Wife” segment.

Overall, I liked it. As I’ve said before it’s not a film whole, but the pars themselves are worth it.

My grade: B