Girl Picture (Tytöt tytöt tytöt): B+. This felt fresh, maybe because it’s Finnish. The central character is a difficult girl and she’s difficult in ways that resonate. This pretends to be a “coming of age” film, and it technically is, but these characters didn’t really feel like teenagers to me. There are really two stories that are not exactly related, and I find myself unsure why they’re interwoven. But it checks a lot of boxes for me, and I really enjoyed it.

The Quiet Girl (An Cailín Ciúin): B+. We randomly watched these back-to-back, and while they are completely different movies, there were some unexpected similarities. Both were filmed 4:3, which seems to be the edgy artsy choice these days, maybe just because it’s a choice you can easily make in the digital world. I mostly didn’t even notice with Girl Picture which had a rough handheld aesthetic, but the landscapes in Quiet Girl felt like they deserved better. But 4:3 forces you to focus on the actors, and this is about the Quiet Girl after all. Slow, but never boring. My biggest complaint is that the only subtitles I could find were just for the Irish parts, but the English parts were nearly unintelligible. Some of this seemed on purpose, the conversation between adults only producing vague comprehension for the child witnessing it at a distance.

Emily the Criminal: B. This is the most mainstream American thing we’ve watched in awhile. It does claim to be a “thriller”, and it even has a minor car chase scene. It was unusually popular with critics given the premise, and we’d gotten pretty far along in the movie before I was able to figure out why. At first it seems like so many crime movies–hard-up character falls ever-deeper into crime, but the story it builds around this is anything but typical. Emily is not, it turns out, a normal young woman who just happens to fall into a life of crime. The movie makes this clear from the beginning, but I’m so used to the trope that it took me awhile to believe this was actually different. The movie is her character development, and it does not develop in the way I’d think it might. There were so many interesting choices in this movie–this a crime movie, but there is no fetishization of crime, neither is there any moralization. The point of this movie is not to tell you that crime is bad–presumably you know that. Also, there are no guns! This is a crime thriller with no guns! Also the title seems unimportant, but it turns out it’s a fantastic title that’s carefully explained. I love that. There’s also a fantastic dive into the horrors of what I’ll call American Business Culture, which I think is widely taken as an indictment of capitalism in general, but I think it’s that’s a far less interesting take than what’s actually going on.

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