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Gregg Araki's "White Bird in a Blizzard" a tense, complex look at youth and loss
Jan 25, 2014 | 9564 views | 0 0 comments | 526 526 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shailene Woodley in "White Bird in a Blizzard." Photo by Sandra Valde-Hansen
Shailene Woodley in "White Bird in a Blizzard." Photo by Sandra Valde-Hansen

Not rated, though there is plenty of sex, nudity and language

Written and directed by Gregg Araki

Starring Shailene Woodly, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni and more

Grade: Three stars

We're all lost in our own way.

That's the truth at the heart of "White Bird in a Blizzard," the latest from "Mysterious Skin" director Gregg Araki. Based off a well-received young adult novel, "Blizzard" follows a young woman as she deals with the sudden disappearance of her emotionally damaged mother, a dissolving relationship with her troubled boyfriend, and finding her own identity. The things she's most certain of are rarely the truth, and even the oldest wounds rarely heal properly.

It's quietly awful in exactly the way it means to be, and though some of the voiceovers are a little melodramatic I blame that on the book. Some of the dialogue near the end also falls into the same trap, though most of the actors communicate their pain beautifully enough to smooth over any hitches in the script.

As Kat, Shailene Woodley anchors the movie with a believably calibrated mix of numbness, perceptiveness and the blindness that all children have when it comes to their parents. Christopher Meloni is perfect as a man who's spent his entire life leashing himself, and Gabourey Sidibe is delightful as one of Kat's lifelines to a more normal world. As a cop the teenage Kat begins a sexual relationship with, Thomas Jane plays his role so carefully that the situation somehow never seems creepy. 

Check out more of Jenniffer Wardell's Sundance coverage here

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