Film Review – White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

Blizz 2

Title – White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

Director – Greg Araki (Mysterious Skin)

Cast – Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Thomas Jane, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe

Plot – In the late 1980’s, young teen girl Kat Connors (Woodley) has her life changed by the sudden disappearance of her inwardly tormented mother Eve (Green) whose marriage to Kat’s father Brock (Meloni) has long been on the rocks. As time goes on Kat will learn more both about herself and also about the events that led to Eve’s vanishing act.

 “One day she was there, cleaning, making dinner, then the next, she was gone”

Review by Eddie on 1/12/2015

A curiously combined genre mashing of coming of age story and suburban mystery, famed indie director Greg Araki’s adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s book White Bird in a Blizzard is anything but formulaic which will alienate many viewers with its obscure tone but also win over its portion of fans with a narrative that remains constantly engaging even when things get undeniably weird.

With more than a dollop of David Lynch and even a hint of Tim Burton in the mix here, Araki has crafted an almost dreamlike state of a movie that often finds just the right amount of seriousness and curios. The central plot line of Shailene Woodley’s Kat Connors, a teen growing up amidst the strange and out of nowhere disappearance of her struggling with the mundanities of life wife and stay at home mum Eve, is but a jumping off point for Araki to explore a range of emotions felt by those going through adolescence and in doing so he creates a film that is all at once both reflective and relatable and also highly unusual. Paramount to Blizzard’s success as a feature film is the increasingly impressive Woodley who is the heart and soul of this dark tale.

So good in smaller budget character studies like The Descendants and the fantastic The Spectacular Now, it’s great to see Woodley once more shy away from the likes of Fault in our Stars and the dreary double pronged attack of Divergent and Insurgent and Blizzard could just be her most astute performance yet in what is a role that requires her both emotionally and psychically to bare quite a bit. Outside of Woodley’s turn there is sadly yet another overblown Eva Green performance who is quickly becoming one of the most irritating performers on the big screen but in some ways her troubled character of Eve requires some left of field antics.

Filmed with a finely sensed humour and some downright darkness, White Bird in a Blizzard is a film all unto its own and a film that could just become a new favourite for those that like their films more Donnie Darko than The Avengers. With an unsuspecting final act bookending an always intriguing set up, Blizzard is a quiet and low key achievement that ranks as one of Araki’s most efficient and evocative films and yet another showcase for Woodley’s exciting career trajectory.

3 ½ awkward dinner invites out of 5

6 responses to “Film Review – White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

  1. Good review Eddie. Isn’t amazing, but was still funny and interesting enough to work for me. More so than any of Araki’s other films.

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