The Dead Girl

2006

Crime / Drama / Mystery

15
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 75%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 65%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 13466

Synopsis


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Cast

Rose Byrne as Leah
Brittany Murphy as Krista
James Franco as Derek
Mary Steenburgen as Leah's Mother
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
792.21 MB
1280*714
English
R
24 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 3 / 42
1.5 GB
1920*1072
English
R
24 fps
1hr 33 min
P/S 6 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by laraemeadows 8 / 10

Not a revolutionary experience but great acting and strong script

"The Dead Girl", written and directed by Karen Moncrieff, is a haunting story of how six women are affected by the gruesome, untimely death of one young woman. Each affected woman is suffering in their own emotional prison. Arden, Leah, Beverly, Ruth, Rosetta, and Melora all gain new life and opportunity because of their connection to the dead girl.

Arden, played by Toni Collette, lives and cares for her abusive mother. Arden's mother, Piper Laurie's character, has such an emotional hold on Arden that she doesn't even feel that she can go on a date with out being humiliated. Arden finds the dead girl on her family's land, and for some reason it gives her new courage to explore a life outside her mother's grasp. After the girl is removed from Arden's family stead, she is taken to the local Medical Examiners Office.

The Examiner's intern, Leah, Rose Byrne's character, examines her and believes that she is her long lost sister, missing for 15 years. Struggling to get past her grief since her sister left, believing she is dead finally allows her to get on with her life stalled for so long. She and her mother, Beverley, played by Mary Steenburgen, and father, Bruce Davidson's character, have different methods for struggling with the past. She goes on a date with Derek, played by James Franko, and begins down the road away from her missing sister and into a life of her own!

Mary Beth Hurt plays Ruth, a woman trapped in her marriage to an absent bastard by her strong religious convictions. Even after she threatens her husband, Carl, Nick Searcy's character, for being gone all the time and for sleeping around, she is conflicted about leaving him. Of all the characters, she is the most pitiful and deplorable. Her religion stunts her common sense, her past cuts it down completely. At the end of her story I wanted to punch her in the face. Ruth is my favorite character.

After the dead girl is identified, her mother, Melora, comes to collect and identify her body. Melora, played by Marsha Gay Harden, finds about her daughter, who ran away years ago, from her girlfriend and co-worker, Rosetta. Together Rosetta, Kerry Washington's character, and Melora collect the remnants of what's left of her daughter's life. Melora's is obviously pained by her daughter's death but her emotions become unraveled when she learns why her daughter left.

Finally we meet Brittany Murphy's character, Krista. Krista is the dead girl. Her sad and tragic life can really only lead to Arden's family farm. Choices she made and choices people made for her are equally gut-punching and in the end, who made which decision doesn't matter anymore. All that matters is she died.

The writing in "The Dead Girl" leaves you dumbstruck and in pain. It's as if Karen Moncrieff drew a line for each of the characters starting years before the dead girl and stretching years in the future. The dead girl is the point where each of the lines intersect and change direction. At first it seems the women's lives bear no similarities to each other but their differences are only as deep as a coat of paint. Each of them is shackled to the past, tied away from the potential their future holds. They tug on their restraints, waiting for anything to break them free. Each of the stories is full of unspoken fear and a frightening depth.

All of the acting in "The Dead Girl" is astoundingly disquieting. Each of the performances is compelling and all of the actors were completely entrenched in character. Marsha Gay Harden's performance is the shining star of this film. Her character is a well mannered, suburban, house wife who learns in the probably the most gut wrenching way about her misjudgments and bad decisions. In a scene where she learns how her bad decision making has hurt her daughter, the surprise and rush of emotion completely changed my view of the character. Her utter desperation and painful honesty made me wish I were in the room to console her.

Each of the character's stories is shot in slightly different ways. The difference is subtle, but if you pay attention, you can see it. There is nothing exceptional about the cinematography, but it isn't a big budget movie either.

The Dead Girl won't be a revolutionary experience for anyone but it is one to see if you desire a strong plot and noteworthy acting.

Reviewed by autobahnsau 9 / 10

"The Dead Girl" is full of life

Saw a screening at a film fest in Los Angeles last night and was completely blown away. The quiet intensity of the film draws out the audiences emotions without hitting them over the head with obvious messages. Everything in this film is complex and complicated- even the cooking of a T.V. dinner. The subtle direction and overwhelming combination of acting, cinematography and screenplay lets the film build mystery upon mystery drawing the viewer to its inevitable conclusion. Restating the plot would give too much away, but the lines between life and death and their definitions are definitely called into question in this film. The acting in this film is of the "Oscars all-around" caliber and not one performance is wasted or without passion and skill. Brittany Murphy and Kerry Washington are so incredible you wonder why these women aren't getting more attention. Murphy particularly shines here as a teenage girl trying to control the downward spiral of her life. Marcia Gay Harden is brilliant as usual giving us a multi-layered character that could easily have been overplayed. Mary Beth Hurt offers a stunning and revealing portrait of a deeply conflicted character. Giovanni Ribisi and James Franco give surprising support playing against their normal "type". The cinematography is lushly beautiful, yet also edgy and raw- all a perfect complement to the screenplay. The opening scenes featuring the desert are gripping and breathtaking. They mark a fantastic contrast to the rest of the film. Karen Moncrieff's direction deftly weaves the characters together, revealing small pieces of a mystery bit by bit, never stealing time from the actors and allowing this stellar cast to really shine. If you loved "In The Bedroom" this has a similar pace and feel. This film will knock you sideways while watching it and then will linger with you for days to come.

Reviewed by gradyharp 10 / 10

The Search for Ways to Fill Holes in the Soul

Karen Moncrief has written and directed this terrifying, searching, agonizing, and exceptionally fine story of the responses of five different people to the discovery of a dead girl. By dividing her story into chapters named after The Stranger, The Daughter, The Mother, The Wife, The Sister, and The Dead Girl she offers us fully realized characters, each of whom is affected by the opening discovery of a mutilated young dead girl's body. The technique of non-linear film is not new, but Moncrief raises it to a new, powerful level, a fact that makes this film one of the more sophisticated and successful of the past few years.

Arden (Toni Collette) is a homely frail girl who accidentally discovers the dead girl, taking a necklace from the corpse before reporting the discovery to the police. She is a caretaker for an invalid, foul-mouthed cruel mother (Piper Laurie) who berates Arden for being so ugly and for involving them in a murder case. Arden flees, meets The Stranger Rudy (Giovanni Ribisi), a tattooed, scary appearing guy who is attracted to Arden because she appears so innocent. He courts her with tales of serial killer manners and yet eventually gains Arden's fractured self-perception trust with physical contact. The next chapter introduces Leah (Rose Byrne) who works with Derek (James Franco) in the mortuary where the dead girl's body has been deposited for autopsy. Leah discovers markings on the dead girl that convince her this is the sister who has been missing for 15 years, a fact that her parents (Mary Steenburgen and Bruce Davison) refuse to accept. Leah's tenuous hold on reality is altered by Derek's consolation and physical attention.

The Wife episode offers a view of Mary (Mary Beth Hurt) and Carl (Nick Searcy), a married couple with mutual distrust: Mary knows Carl has flings with prostitutes while Carl feels Mary is too controlling. Mary discovers a chest of torn bloody underwear in one of their business Storage Containers, connects the items with Carl in a suspicion that Carl may be related to the death of the dead girl, and burns them. In The Mother we finally meet the true mother Melora (Marcia Gay Harden) of the dead girl Kritsta (Britanny Murphy) as she traces the clues from the body to a seedy motel where she meets Rosetta (Kerry Washington), Krista's roommate and lover, only to discover that the dead Krista ran away from home to become a prostitute and drug addict in response to a childhood abuse problem with her father. Melora is informed that Krista has an illegitimate three-year-old daughter Ashley whom Krista loved and Melora seeks to care for the only remains of the dead girl - her granddaughter and her lover.

This film beams with brilliant performances: Collette, Harden, Byrne, Laurie, Hurt, Searcy, Washington, Steenburgen, Franco and Ribisi are poignant in their depiction of damaged people whose lives are altered by the Dead Girl. This is ensemble acting of the finest category. The production values are strong and the director's control of what could have been a meandering saga is firm and keeps the story from becoming sensationalized. This is yet another brilliant little film that deserves a very wide audience. Grady Harp

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