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Film / God Help the Girl

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There's nothing quite like starting a band, right? Going out on an adventure of creativity, excitement, and camaraderie? It's an appealing dream to be sure, especially if you're stuck in a psychiatric hospital far from home getting treated for anorexia nervosa.

This is the situation Eve (Emily Browning of A Series of Unfortunate Events fame) finds herself. On her periodic escapes from the institution she makes attempts to get into the music world, on one occasion forming a band with James (Olly Alexander) and Cassie (Hannah Murray, better known as, err, Cassie on Skins or Gilly on Game of Thrones), and on another submitting a demo tape to a local rocker Anton (Pierre Boulanger) in hopes he'll send it to the local radio DJs. So far, so good, except Eve's still dealing with her personal issues and potentially creating new ones by getting involved with Anton.


God Help the Girl is a Kickstarter-funded 2014 film directed by Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer of Belle and Sebastian, based on a sorta kinda Concept Album of the same name, which isn't technically a Belle and Sebastian record, but has many of the same players. The film has all the trademarks one would expect from Murdoch: a wistful air, homages to the styles and films of the early to mid '60s, mixed tragic and comic elements and a lush musical soundtrack.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Bedsheet Ladder: One morning, James and Eve stand outside Cassie's house and yell at her window for her to join them on a day trip. She starts making a rope out of her sheets and clothes, until it's pointed out that there's no reason she can't just walk out the front door instead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: James never gets together with Eve, and the band splits up when she goes to London for music school. They were brilliant and beautiful for a while, however.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Cassie.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: James. He doesn't get Eve in the end, but they do have a partial reconciliation.
  • Doing It for the Art: invoked
    • James. He wants to play the sort of music he loves, which isn't necessarily popular. The band he makes with Eve and Cassie, God Help the Girl, does achieve some popularity, but they soon split up.
    • At one point, he gets into an argument with the drummer of his initial band. The problem? The drummer's playing too loud to let the audience hear James' lyrics.
  • Dramedy
  • Friendship Song: "Down and Dusky Blonde".
  • The Glasses Come Off: Both James and his drummer when they get into a fight.
  • Important Haircut
  • Jerkass:
    • Anton. He promises to bring Eve's tape to the deejays, but never does. He claims that the tape wasn't very good, but the deejays play "Down and Dusky Blonde" and mention God Help the Girl by name towards the end of the film.
    • Eve herself has her moments. James, while nice, can be a bit misanthropic.
  • Magical Realism
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Eve appears to be this, but is more of a subversion. She has a lot of issues.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: When planning out the band, Eve and Cassie don't seem to be keen on having either a bassist or a drummer. Cassie suggests that if they do recruit some, they shouldn't be considered an important part of the band. She's eventually dissuaded.
  • One-Hit Wonder: invoked What God Help the Girl likely becomes, given that Eve leaves after performing "Down and Dusky Blonde".
  • Shout Out: Much of the film is shot to resemble movies of the early and mid 1960s. Eve also wears a The Smiths T-shirt.
    • A bookstore briefly shown during the "Musician Please Take Heed" number appears to be the same bookstore featured in the music video for "Wrapped Up In Books", a Belle and Sebastian song.
  • Slice of Life
  • Title Drop: Before the performance of "Down and Dusky Blonde", the DJs mention the band by name.
  • Wimp Fight: Between James and the drummer of his first band. In the middle of a song.


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