17 Girls (DVD Review)16 Dec, 2012 By: Angelique Flores
Prebook 12/18/12; Street 1/15/13
Box Office $0.015 million
In French with English subtitles.
Stars Louise Grinberg, Roxane Duran, Esther Garrel.
In 2008, about 17 students at a high school in Gloucester, Mass., made a pact to get pregnant so that they would always have someone to love them and so that their children could grow up together.
The French film 17 Girls is based on those events. Here, it starts with 16-year-old Camille, who accidentally gets pregnant. She gets no attention at home. Her father is absent, her mother is usually away working, and her brother is stationed away in the military. Lonely Camille defiantly wants to keep her baby, despite what others advise her.
Her four friends worry their life together is over. But Camille flips things around. She talks them into also getting pregnant. They like the idea, seeing it as a move to seem grown-up and in charge of their own lives.
All but one in the group get pregnant, and another fakes it to become a part of the clique of girls. And other girls outside this group of girls also get pregnant.
School officials are in an uproar, wondering if this is a political statement the girls are making. They don’t know whether to offer birth control or expel the girls.
Unlike how an American film might, this film doesn’t take a moralistic approach to the story, but rather tells it from the girls’ perspective with some French arthouse flair.
Louise Grinberg as Camille is beguiling to watch in this interesting coming-of-age story that ends before you see how these girls and their babies end up. It’s easy to see how other girls at her school follow her lead. Some of these young actresses have a natural chemistry with each other, making their bond and pregnancy pact credible.