We watched Dead Girl on video this afternoon. It’s got a stellar cast, most notably Toni Collette, one of my favorite actors of all time. She has a seemingly infinity ability to transform herself mentally and physically into any role.
The movie begins with Collette’s character finding the titular dead girl, which acts as a catalyst to her leaving an abusive parent. In subsequent sections of the movie, we see the wife of the killer, the sister of a dead girl, the mother of the dead girl, and then the dead girl herself. The acting is generally understated and note-perfect, the way in which the events play out not at all predictable. This is not just a movie about a dead girl–it’s a movie about various women, and how the dead girl affects their lives. At least one woman’s decision is startling but, in retrospect, believable. Only the section featuring the dead girl begins to feel familiar–almost superfluous given everything else we’ve seen–but it ends at exactly the right moment.
Overall, we really enjoyed this intelligent, thoughtful, riveting movie, although I am unhappy with how many times it has made me type the words “dead girl”. It reminds us of how the events we see dramatized by 24-hour news coverage exist within a frame of the banal, that what we see as supposed journalism is often overblown, and cannot in any meaningful way explain to us a death, or what it means to those affected by the death.