Sorry Joey, but this week’s Netflix pick is The Girl In The Book. Writer/Director Marya Cohn’s directorial debut and her first feature length screenplay shows a lot of promise for the filmmaker as The Girl In The Book is a slowly revolving story that takes place in two timelines and tells the backstory as the story set in the present needs it. The pacing is spot on, the acting is great, and the tone is as eerie as it needs to be for the heavy subject matter.
Tired of hearing your friends say they’ve watched everything on Netflix? Are you finding yourself saying that as well? Maybe the argument of people too cheap to shell out the 8 dollars are saying ‘there used to be good stuff, but it’s all crap now.’ Maybe you find yourself spending more time scrolling than watching. Well I plan to put those idiotic statements and bad behavior to rest. On a week to week basis I will give a solid recommendation or two on what you can sign on, turn on, and enjoy. I’ll try to stay away from the massive titles that everyone knows since those have been covered to exhaustion everywhere else. I’m looking for the hidden gems. The indies, the big name stars in direct to streaming endeavors that are well crafted and creative but wouldn’t gross the 300 million needed to justify a theatrical wide release.
Alice Harvey (Emily VanCamp) seems like a well adjusted adult. She has a stable career, some loyal friends, and is overall happy. At least on the surface. Her career is in her preferred industry, publishing novels, but instead of finding new talents and getting great works published she is a secretary to an egotistical boss who doesn’t take her seriously. Harvey also has a hard time making romantic connections and is prone to throw herself at men with reckless abandon. When Harvey is assigned to work with a renowned novelist she has a personal past with, Milan Daneker (Michael Nyqvist) her past begins to unfold and explain the damaged adult Alice’s world. The past is told in flashbacks of increasing concern and eeriness as Daneker’s interest in the young Alice (Ana Mulvoy-Ten) goes far beyond her writing.
The tone of The Girl In The Book is what really drives the story. The movie is shot in low light with washed out colors and an overall sense of bland. The picture is subdued but screams about what is going on inside the character of Alice’s head. Her inability to write, her one time passion, is the most obvious indication of the trauma going on inside but the script handles it so perfectly it never feels heavy handed. The character avoids writing, like an addict avoiding a trigger. She even blows up at her boyfriend merely for writing in her presence. Writing in this case could be replaced with anything, making the movie more relatable for people who may be experiencing similar issues in their own lives. To further the theme of the tone being handled so well the more grotesque aspects of the script are implied more than graphically shown.
The introduction of Nyqvist’s Daneker is a heavy moment as expertly understated as the rest of the story elements in this film. He re-enters the young woman’s life as if nothing happened in the past. As if he knew of no wrongdoing. As the past is further and further revealed The quiet Milan Daneker is not a misunderstood man, not a great novelist, but a monster trying to wear the face of a friend, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Emily VanCamp and Ana Mulvoy-Ten do an amazing job at splitting the main character’s trying story arc. VanCamp has some serious acting credits under her belt and is no stranger to drama. That doesn’t make playing the broken victim to childhood trauma any easier. Ana Mulvoy-Ten is really the breakout star of the movie. VanCamp’s story line is in dealing with past tragedy where Mulvoy-Ten’s storyline is building to, experiencing, and falling away from the tragedy. Michael Nyqvist is a well known character actor. You will recognize this man even if you don’t recognize his name. He does some serious acting in the movie, playing a sleight hand as a predator. There are times when the audience can almost see things from his point of view, before the point of no return. That is masterful storytelling since the line between right and wrong are anything but blurred in these situations.
The Girl In The Book is a somewhat depressing tale that is so expertly told it’s definitely worth a watch. Without treading too deep into spoiler territory, by the time the story ends you won’t exactly feel uplifted but it doesn’t end on a total downer either.
To tie this back into the realm So Wizard covers most thoroughly the adorable Emily VanCamp also place SHIELD Agent 13 in Captain America The Winter Soldier and will be reprising her role in Civil War. Agent 13 is the niece of Peggy Carter.