Firstly I just want to clear up all the Boyhood comparisons, Girlhood is actually a French movie who’s title has been translated as Girlhood when it more accurately means gangs of girls or something along those lines. Therefore I think its unfair to compare it so much to Boyhood, the only real similarity is that they both have coming of age themes.
I wish I had been watching Boyhood though as Girlhood was just so boring. I don’t know were all the critical acclaim is coming from for this film because I really didn’t enjoy it at all. One of my biggest issues was that I couldn’t relate to, didn’t like and wasn’t interested in any of the characters. Maybe I just didn’t get it because I have never been a teenage girl but I just didn’t really care about this group of girls who liked to carry knives, steal and fight rival gang members. I know we were meant to feel sympathy for the main character Marieme (Karidja Toure) but her choices and actions at times just didn’t help with this. I know her situation wasn’t favourable but I thought there were other ways round this than the paths that Marieme chose. Toure does perform well, and so do the rest of the cast but when a film is so boring and un-engaging I don’t really care about good performances.
The boredom got so bad that I was struggling to make the effort to read the subtitles. I also had a moment of fear as the film began as the characters were talking but no subtitles were appearing, I genuinely thought I was going to have to sit through a French language film with no subtitles. However, that might have been better as I maybe could have amused myself by trying to work out what was being said. There are a few moments of humour, however I think these seemed funnier than they were as they simply offered some relief from the rest of the film. There was a piece of music used throughout the film, I’m not sure if it was everytime Marieme made a decision about her life or not but it was used about five times throughout. This piece of booming futuristic style music would have been at home in Drive or Tron:Legacy and whilst I enjoyed the music itself it didn’t work here. Everytime it was played and then followed by a black screen it made me think the film was ending but then the film would start into things again, I hated this as it just messed with the momentum of the film, and each time I heard the music in the later half of the film I was willing it to end for real.
Why Girlhood is getting such great reviews I will never understand, I was bored stiff watching this. Whilst there are solid performances from the cast I couldn’t connect with the characters on any level and they were quite dis-likable. Girlhood is a film with little substance, it tries to present itself in an overly emotional/empowering way by using that piece of music but it didn’t work. It simply came across as trying to something that it wasn’t. Wish I’d given this one a miss.
Rating – 4/10