God Help the Girl


Action / Drama / Musical / Romance


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February 01, 2015 at 12:44 AM

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1hr 52 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Criborama 4 / 10


For some reason I expected a little more from Stuart Murdoch who has written some beautiful songs, even though with varying degrees of lollipop. In God Help The Girl he does a few things well. The dance and musical sequences, though possibly jarring to some, are blended into the film reasonably well. But the rest of it is pretty shallow. It's as if he had the idea of jumping into the ocean but got to the edge and just paddled, not really able or wanting to get wet. For example, James is potentially an interesting character but Stuart doesn't develop him beyond the paper thin. At one point in the film, Anton (Pierre Boulanger) describes Eve's music as, and I'm paraphrasing, baby stories for young girls. I think Anton's analysis could equally apply to God Help The Girl.

Reviewed by Don_Flamenco 9 / 10

If you didn't appreciate it for what it is, you probably had no business watching it

I remember back in 2008 when I stumbled across the God Help the Girl album. A huge B&S fan, it was recommended by the I Tunes bot, and while i usually pass on those, I couln't help but be intrigued by a musical with music by Stuart Murdoch.

Loved the album, couldn't wait for the movie, though at the time, details were sketchy at best. As years past, the album remained a mainstay on my pod rotation, but I'd essentially forgotten that it was intended as a soundtrack to something.

Then a few months back, I came across the God Help the Girl, the actual soundtrack, and found that it was finally coming out. I knew it was a small Indie movie, and it would be a while before I got to see it, and I expected that. Then last night, the Gods of awesome smiled upon me when my wife told me that it was On Demand in the In Theatres section. And all was well.

Anyway, to the movie. Again, it is what I expected. To some up the story, such as it is, you only need two words; hipsters and music. It is all shot in very retro fashion, and nails that part. Like the Beatles movies of the 1960s, the story is essentially a vehicle to travel from song to song, most of which are essentially music videos, and shot as such. And again, knowing what to expect, that's wonderful. What's even better is that the actors are well aware of this. Emily Browning may mot be Jennifer Lawrence in terms of name recognition, but she's a bigger name than I would have expected here, and effortlessly believable.

The only blemish is that some of the songs feel shoehorned in. Act of the Apostle (which is actually Act of the Apostle II in the B&S catalogue,) feels random and out of place as an opening number. Again, such is the nature of this type of film, but this one feels like they just wanted to eek i in, so used it as an opening number. Also, the title song, as well as my favorite, Perfection as a Hipster are not done justice, especially the later, which plays softly in the background via the radio, though be it in an appropriate scene.

All and all, like the afore mentioned Beatles films, this ones about the music. While the acting's wonderful, the story isn't going to reel you in. My recommendation is to listen to the music first, be it the 2008 studio album or the movie soundtrack. Or both. If you like the music, watch the movie. If not, you'll probably be, dare I say...bored out of your mind.

Reviewed by Amari-Sali 8 / 10

As the summer of 2014 comes to an end, one last coming of age story is released to top the season off.

After Plush, I must admit the idea of Emily Browning playing the role of a musician wasn't a horrible idea. Especially since Skins alumni Hannah Murrah and Olly Alexander are in it. Though with God Help the Girl not having original music, but that of Stuart Murdoch's past work, it does lead you to question if whether this would become another Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart or Sunshine on Leith?

Characters & Story

A young girl, a few years out of high school, named Eve (Emily Browning) we meet as she is recovering from anorexia. She seems friendless, her parents never visit, and what lead to her having anorexia isn't explored too much. However, as she recovers she finds she has a talent for writing music. So, upon one of her escapes from the hospital, she asks this singer named Anton (Pierre Boulanger) to give her music to this local DJ.

But while her first demo is surely something interesting, it is the music she makes with sort of failed musician James (Olly Alexander) and Cass (Hannah Murray) which is what the film focuses on. For as James and Eve grow close, and Cass is invited along for the ride, you get a nice fluffy film in which we listen to songs dealing with everyday life sometimes spiced with what the members of the cast are going through. All the while, James falls in love with Eve and she finds him to be the one who helps establish the foundation she needs to perhaps pursue music officially. However, when the summer is over, and with Eve feeling well enough to go to college, will their friendship, band, and possible romance end, or is what we see only just the beginning?


There is so much worth praising in the film. Whether it is things like the costume design, the cute choreography during the songs, or even the songs themselves, there is so much to cover before even talking about the story. Now, to begin with the attire, most of the clothes seem straight out of a Skins episode and really help push the idea that God Help The Girl is a cute little indie band which has a few quirks and a huge reason to be desirable. For while, officially, they only perform one show in the movie, throughout the film we get to see them do almost mini-music videos which show off their quirky style and are choreographed in such a way which will likely remind you of some indie pop group you found out about in your teens which you used to, or still do, obsess over.

Then, when it comes to the songs, I must admit I only liked around 85% of the soundtrack. And while some songs aren't loved right off the bat, they do grow on you and the film has a nice progression where most of the 15% which I didn't think were good were only in the beginning. Making it feel that as Eve became a better song writer and the band became a more cohesive unit, you witness the songs becoming better and better.

Leaving the story for the last bit of praise. Now, despite Eve dealing with anorexia, there isn't a heavy handed approach to the subject matter. It is more treated as a private struggle than something all consuming. Which isn't to say they make light of the matter, nor is it not a struggle for her featured throughout the film, but what I wish to say is that it isn't the sole thing noted about her character. If anything, it is what helps push her out of her hospital bed and into meeting James and eventually Cass. And with Eve and James' relationship, there are so many cute moments which truly make you swoon, giggle and so badly hope they last forever. Also, to my surprise, while there is quirkiness, and a cute little romance, there are also multiple moments which will make you laugh. Not as much as if this movie was a comedy, but enough to keep you smiling between songs.


When it comes to issues with the film, honestly the sole issue I can find is that it feels like we don't get to know the past of any of the characters that well. We get little tidbits of information so that we know they didn't just appear out of thin air, but with Eve having anorexia, and seemingly having quite a life before we met her, it does make you curious to learn more of her back story. Then, as for James and Cass, I wanted to learn more about them since both of their lives, outside of anything dealing with Eve, isn't explored. To the point where honestly you end up feeling like you barely got to know them at all.

Overall: Worth Seeing

It seems less and less that I watch something Worth Seeing. However, God Help The Girl is definitely a worth seeing film, though admittedly I thought it would be TV Viewing at first. But with it getting better over time, honestly I am left hoping there is a sequel as much as I wish this was a mini-series. Especially since the main negative thing about the film is that we don't get to know much about the characters' lives before the band, and hardly get to know James and Cass at all. Though with good music, an overall cute story, and it leaving you wanting more, the little bit of negatives certainly don't outweigh the positives. Leading me to say that you should certainly see God Help The Girl, perhaps buy the soundtrack, and definitely share it with your friends!

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