The world is closing in on Greta Driscoll (Bethany Whitmore). On the cusp of turning fifteen she can't bear to leave her childhood, it contains all the things that give her comfort in this incomprehensible new world, including 15 year old Elliott (Harrison Feldman).
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Beware your 15th birthday, girls, it's a traumatic time as your childhood is being torn from you and all the angst that teenage can muster is thrown at you. Your body and mind, it seems, are not recognisable. Matthew Whittet has amazingly clear insight to have written such a screenplay, given he has never gone through this experience. He's a male. And Rosemary Myers has taken the original stage play and given it an explosive cinematic make-over, which clearly impressed the jury at the 2016 Seattle filmfest, where it won their big gold gong (Jury Prize).
It really is a festival film, a film for fans of cinema, fans who appreciate the richness of invention and the way Myers uses all the tools of cinema to not only tell the story - such as it is - but to take us inside the emotional turmoil that young Greta (Bethany Whitmore) is going through.
The film has a challenging style; audiences are not given the usual comforts of cinematic short hand. Greta is presented as an outsider, but not in predictable shots.
Bethany Whitmore is perfectly cast as the plain and outwardly timid Greta, and Harrison Feldman is an absolute find as Elliott, the boy who befriends her, mentors her in his own way, and of course, wants to kiss her.
Some of the visual highlights are also imaginative highpoints, such as the amazing creatures of the imaginary forest in Greta's dream. Her waking hours are less dreamlike, with quarrelling parents and bullying schoolmates.
More complex than an anti bullying project and more creative than we might expect from its simple story origins, Girl Asleep is a great calling card for Myers, a family film that defies its genre.
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GIRL ASLEEP (M)
CAST: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Matthew Whittet, Amber McMahon, Eamon Farren, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Imogen Archer, Maiah Stewardson
PRODUCER: Jo Dyer
DIRECTOR: Rosemary Myers
SCRIPT: Matthew Whittet
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Commis
EDITOR: Karryn de Cinque
MUSIC: Harry Covill
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jonathon Oxlade
RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 8, 2016