DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

GIRL ASLEEP (director: Rosemary Meyers; screenwriter: Matthew Whittet/based on the play by Whittet; cinematographer: Andrew Commis; editor: Karryn De Cinque; music: Harry Covill; cast: Bethany Whitmore (Greta Driscoll), Harrison Feldman (Elliott), Matthew Whittet (Conrad), Amber McMahon (Janet), Eamon Farren (Adam), Tilda Cobham-Hervey (Huldra), Grace Dawson  (Amber), Fiona Dawson (Sapphire), Imogen Archer (Genevieve), Maiah Stewardson (Jade); Runtime: 77; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jo Dyer; Oscilloscope Laboratories; 2015-Australia)

"It takes us into Greta's head through her dreams and thoughts."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Rosemary Meyers directs in her feature film debut a cinema friendly movie from a stage play. It's a sensitive fable about the plain looking Greta Driscoll (Bethany Whitmore), a glum and shy 14-year-old worried about attending a new school in the suburbs of Australia and of no longer being a child by her next birthday. Screenwriter Matthew Whittet bases it on his play.

Meyers' fantasy story is set in the 1970s. It takes us into Greta's head through her dreams and thoughts.
The braces-wearing unnaturally cheery Harrison Feldman plays the nerdy Elliott, the only one in school who befriends and offers her help with the caveat he wants to be more than a friend. Poor Greta must also deal with three menacing female school bullies (Maiah Stewardson, Grace Dawson and Fiona Dawson), her clueless social-climbing parents (Matthew Whittet and Amber McMahon) who throw her a 15th  birthday party she doesn't want and invite the entire school, and her moody dating-wise older sister (Imogen Archer).

The visuals of the imaginary forest in Greta's dream are eye-catching, but hardly moving moments.

The off-beat stylish coming -of-age film captures the young girl's emotional conflicts, her social awkwardness and her difficulty of growing up in her comfortable home. But the drama only conveys artificial responses to its comical situations that play out as
clichés you may find in mediocre TV sitcoms.

The story is inspired by the writings of the noted psychologist Bruno Bettelheim.

REVIEWED ON 12/19/2016       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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