Exploding Girl, The (DVD Review)4 Sep, 2010 By: Billy Gil
Box Office $0.03 million
Stars Zoe Kazan.
Zoe Kazan (Revolutionary Road) guides this austere tale from Bradley Rust Gray of a girl at home from college dealing with feelings of isolation and her quiescent epilepsy.
Kazan plays Ivy, who is home in New York for spring break and takes in her good friend Al to live with her and her mother. Ivy and Al chat, go to parties and play games in the park idly while Ivy talks to her boyfriend back at school and Al tries to meet girls.
The underlying emotional attachment between Ivy and Al, played sweetly by Mark Rendal, anchors Gray’s film from floating off into the windy New York streets it portrays. The film, which shares elements of mumblecore, with naturalistic dialogue, is not for the impatient but offers rewards in its quietly epic nature. Kazan skillfully underplays Ivy, trying to connect with her boyfriend over the phone and with Al as he seeks new people, while Gray captures the busy streets buzzing ignorantly to the small drama taking place. The film and Kazan’s role are akin to Michelle Williams in Wendy and Lucy, in that both actresses play young female outsiders at veritable crossroads.
The Exploding Girl ultimately succeeds because it does break through emotionally and doesn’t leave its viewers waiting for something to happen. In this sense the film is masterful, taking its time to build into a quietly satisfying conclusion that doesn’t betray its stillness or individuality.
The DVD comes with an interview with Kazan and Gray on how they crafted the character of Ivy, as well as an excellent video by shoegazers Asobi Seksu and a student film by Gray. On a side note, the packaging for The Exploding Girl, typical of Oscilloscope releases, features recycled packaging and stunning, impressionistic photography and artwork.