Dirty Girl (2010)
Review by Jude Felton
I will admit that I had not heard anything about this movie prior to receiving the press release regarding its DVD release. Granted, I don’t really keep my finger on the pulse of upcoming movies outside of the darker side of cinema but I am still surprised I hadn’t heard of this, especially seeing as it premiered in 2010. The good news out of this though is that it really is a hidden gem of a flick.
Set in 1987, the dirty girl of the title is Danielle, played by English actress Juno Temple (although you wouldn’t guess that from her accent here), who lives up the title. Not one to play by the rules she ends up, through her wild behavior, being moved to the remedial class at her school. It’s here that she begrudging befriends closet homosexual Clark (Jeremy Dozier). They both resent their parents for differing reasons; Clarke’s want to send him to military school to rid him of his homosexuality, and Danielle’s mother has herself a new boyfriend who insists forcing his family values upon her.
When things get too much for Danielle she insists that Clarke ups and drives her to California in search of her birth father. So begins a road trip from Oklahoma to the West Coast.
Dirty Girl is a strange beast in that it manages to take clichéd characters and make them seem fresh and funny. It is in turn laugh-out-loud funny, then at times quite harsh to watch, in particular one scene involving Clarke’s father (who is played wonderfully by Dwight Yoakim). Although the film does focus on Danielle and Clarke’s relationship there is plenty of room for an impressive supporting cast. The aforementioned Yoakim is just perfect in his role, but also Mary Steenburgen as Clarke’s timid and repressed mother, Milla Jovovich playing against type as Danielle’s mother and William H. Macy as Danielle’s prospective Stepfather. All are pitch-perfect in their roles and help to take the weight of carrying the film off the youngsters shoulders.
The humor and language is quite often graphic, yet the movie is always charming and thoroughly watchable. If I did have any complaints about the movie, it would be that the end credits start to role at about the 80 minute mark. That being said, the movie doesn’t have a chance to outlive its welcome because of this.
A great cast, cool soundtrack and some really witty dialogue all gel together perfectly, so that even when the movie gets a little predictable you just don’t care.
Dirty Girl really is worth checking out. The homophobics out there probably won’t get much from it, especially during a surreal dance moment late on, but for those that like quirky, and sometimes surreal, teen movies I can’t recommend it enough.
Dirty Girl is available now on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.