White Bird in a Blizzard played at Fantasia this year, but is one of the official selections for the Sundance Film Festivals. We thought we’d re-post the review for those who missed it the first time.
White Bird In A Blizzard, Gregg Araki’s latest feature film, opens with a dreamy song that immediately sets the right vibes. There was so much perfection in this movie it’s hard to handle.
Just to give you a bit of an idea, the movie starts with Kat (Shailene Woodley) coming home and finding her father (Christopher Meloni) distraught, announcing that her mother (Eva Green) is gone. The story is shown in a set of memory sequences, mostly Kat remembering her childhood and the days and moments prior to her mother’s disappearance, as well as the present time, showing us Kat’s life once her mother is gone. The story begins in the fall of 1988 and sometime halfway through the film it fast forwards to Spring 1991. I could go on and on about the plot and character development, but I don’t want to give anything away (be ready to expect a lot of plot twists!).
First things first, the cast of the movie was surprisingly good and fit together well. Shailene Woodley pleasantly surprised me. She had the lead role, portraying Kat Connor, a 17-year-old girl whose mother disappears. This is Woodley’s most mature role thus far, nothing compared to The Fault In Our Stars. Eva Green took on the role of the disappearing mother, Eve. As always, Green was amazing and managed to make herself feel present on screen even though she was not the lead. Ever since I saw her in The Dreamers I can’t get enough of her! The cast also included Christopher Meloni (Brock Connor), Shiloh Fernandez (Phil, Kat’s stoner next-door neighbour/boyfriend), Gabourey Sidibe (Kat’s friend) and Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks!). Sheryl Lee’s role and presence was absolutely fitting in this film as the movie did set off Twin Peaks-like vibes, especially when Kat Connors was having her dreams.
The whole movie was composed of dreamy pictures that really brought out the 1980s aesthetic. The movie reminded me a lot of Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders) as both movies include the themes of loss and disappearance, and I must say that it also made me think of Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch). Shailene Woodley’s outfits throughout the film are to die for, seriously making me wish I lived in the ’80s. Also Kat Connors’ bedroom reeked of ’80s teen angst that you will absolutely love. On top of that, director Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, Doom Generation, Kaboom) paired off the stunning imagery with an amazing soundtrack featuring all your ’80s favourites (The Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, The Cure).
The movie carefully transitions from the ’80s to the ’90s, which I found to be wonderfully done. So many things were right about this movie. It’s one of those coming of age movies that you’ll obsess about for a very long time if you’re like me. To make things even better, did you know that the movie was based on a book written by Laura Kasischke in 1999? I am giving this one a five stars plus plus plus!
Catch White Bird In A Blizzard at the Dollar Cinema (6900 Decarie) starting December 12.