“I was 17 when my mother disappeared,” said Kat Connors.
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The new queen of adaptations—Shailene Woodley (5 out of 5!) comes to her new stage portraying Kat, a broken girl living in a dysfunctional ideal-looking family (what a paradox). When Kat is 17, her beautiful-but-cranky mother, Evelyn (Eva Green), suddenly disappears; igniting a blizzard in her life.
White Bird seeks to tell a coming-of-age tale of a traumatic girl with an approach that might look classic and feel campy somehow. It’s a serious character study as we follow Kat’s voiceover through her contacts with her weary father (Christopher Meloni), her next-door boyfriend (Shiloh Fernandez), her spasmodic BFFs, her detective-lover, and her therapist. However, the heart of White Bird is, obviously, the maternal-filial relationship between Kat and her mother, which is seasoned with Kat’s attempts to cope up with her love-lost projected in her recurring dreams and her sexual betrayal. Green’s character doesn’t serve merely as a trigger to the series of events in this movie, but she is the main catalyst with possibly one of her quirkiest roles in cinema.
Woodley might be the epicenter of the story, but Green is the real star; although, I found it rather comical, Green convincingly overshadowing other casts with her on-screen frustration, jealousy towards her daughter, and detestation towards his husband. With two feminine stars on the screen, White Bird cannot be more seductive.
I’m not a devoted fan of director Gregg Araki; yet, his adaptation on Laura Kasischke’s novel of the same title is, seemingly, reflecting another teenaged tantrum from this director (check Mysterious Skin). The plot is less structured, yet, it has prose-like voice-over to guide audiences to put everything together. What makes it hard to follow, aside from Araki’s dreamlike signature (and vibrant lights), is the pace; White Bird turns out to be a slow-starter, or even a slow-climactic story with a typical thriller twist that I find it a little bit bothering. However, save the prejudice towards this movie, cause it’s indeed beautifully made with devoted homage to the late 80s teenage spirit.
Even with the taste of ‘mystery’ that revolves around half of the story, White Bird still finds its heart reflected on the bond between two leading female characters in this movie. Yet, the literal attraction of this movie are, definitely, women—thanks to Woodley and Green.
White Bird In A Blizzard (2014)
Drama, Thriller, Coming of Age Written & Directed by: Gregg Araki based on novel by Laura Kasischke Starred by: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Cristopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez Running Time: 91 mins
Rated R for sexual content/nudity, language and some drug use