March 29, 2017
Hard Hitting and Brilliant
"The Dead Girl" is a hard hitting and gritty drama surrounding a group of women, all in some way tied to the brutal death of a young woman. Toni Collette is haunting as a young woman oppressed by her sick mother played by the brilliant Piper Laurie. Collette leaves a strong impression that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. After that we meet Rose Byrne, a young mortician who is searching for her missing sister so she can rekindle her strained relationship with her parents. After she thinks she's finally found her presumably dead sister, she feels liberated. Only a day later she is sadly disappointed. Byrne's reaction is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the film, and it sticks with you. The next story follows Mary Beth Hurt, who portrays an old woman suspicious of her husband's unusual behavior. Only to uncover a terrifying secret. What I love about this story is that it perfectly captures that kind of "baby boomer" mindset. We root for Hurt to tell the truth, but like a proper lady of her time she keeps her mouth shut and goes home to her husband, with or without her sanity. Marcia Gay Harden's character goes through the most development and she captures it beautifully. Marcia is "The Dead Girl's" mother, who flies to California to visit her deceased daughter's home. Only to meet her roommate, Kerry Washington. Watching Marcia's character grow in the short span of time that she does is probably the only truly satisfying event in this film. Now "The Dead Girl", Brittany Murphy. Murphy is probably the best part about this film. Brilliantly portraying a troubled addict with a heart of gold, Murphy will make you smile, laugh, and cry your eyes out in the ten minutes of screen time that she has. Overall "The Dead Girl" is not a happy movie. It's not a huge blockbuster. The stories are small, and extremely depressing, but the work. The work, and the acting put into this movie make it one of the most powerful films I've ever watched. Do I recommend it? Of course, just don't forget to bring a box of tissues.