The Dead Girl

Dir: Karen Moncrieff. Starring: Toni Collette, Britney Murphy, Giovanni Ribisi. English. Drama/Thriller/Mystery.
The Dead Girl

Broken down into roughly five stories, The Dead Girl is a film that intersects the lives of complete strangers in relation to the grisly murder of a young prostitute.

Toni Collette plays the unfortunate woman who has the displeasure of discovering a body on a hillside at an anonymous location. Her life is thrown into disarray as the local media and police swarm her once isolated life. As the caretaker of her extremely overbearing mother (creepily played by Piper Laurie), Collette realizes that with her new-found attention, she can move on and develop relationships with others, thus leading her into a strange encounter with a bag boy from the supermarket.

Moving on to our second story, we meet a student who’s overcome with sadness due to the disappearance of her sister some fifteen years ago. Working part-time as the assistant to a coroner, the body of the dead girl is revealed to her, at which point she believes she has found her long lost sister. But is it really her sister?

In the third segment of the film we meet “The Wife” (Mary Beth Hurt). Neglected by her gallivanting husband and tired of a life in front of the television, the wife discovers evidence that could implicate her insignificant other as the perpetrator in a series of recent murders.

Marcia Gay Harden plays “The Mother.” Once the identity of the dead prostitute is confirmed, the mother goes on a journey to find answers as to why her child would runaway from home. She discovers many things, both good and bad, that she never knew about her missing daughter.

Finally we meet the “Dead Girl.” Unconvincingly played by Britney Murphy, we catch a glimpse into a lost soul. In an attempt to make ends meet as well as support her child, it is revealed that there are many reasons why and how someone might end up dead on the side of a hill.

There were many things about this film that I really enjoyed and many things that I didn’t. There was certainly a lack of cohesiveness to the story and a lack of development in the characters. Beautifully shot by Michael Grady, the cinematography is probably the most interesting thing about this picture. The direction was good in terms of the pace but needed a stronger script. It was certainly more deserving of a stronger performance from the title character, but what can you expect from the chick that was in Uptown Girls?

Posted by:
Travis King
Dec 17, 2007 4:03pm
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