God Help The Girl, film review: Playfulness rekindles memories of French New Wave films

(15) Stuart Murdoch, 112 mins Starring: Emily Browning, Hannah Murray, Olly Alexander, Pierre Boulanger
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The Independent Culture

The occasional awkwardness of God Help the Girl is part of its considerable charm. The writer-director Stuart Murdoch (from the band Belle and Sebastian) captures the strange mix of vulnerability and arrogance that its young musician protagonists share. They want, as the bespectacled James (Olly Alexander) puts it, to "place a small flag in the timeline of pop history". They may be pretentious but they are never cynical.

Eve (Emily Browning) is his muse, a beautiful, gamine-like singer who first meets him after going awol from the psychiatric hospital where she is being treated.

Music has a transformative effect on their lives. Despite Eve's fragile mental state and James' dead-end job as a lifeguard, the film has a playfulness and humour that rekindle memories of French New Wave films.

Even the dour Glasgow backdrops take on a magical air. It helps that Browning looks like a youthful Anna Karina and shares her charisma.