Movie Review: God Help The Girl
svetlana | Sep 12, 2014 | 10:30AM |

Pre-requisite reading: Our Interview with Stuart Murdoch about how this movie came to be.

As far as BYT is concerned, there are really only two kinds of people in this world: those who LOVE Belle and Sebastian and Stuart Murdoch and those who don’t. If you are the former, read on, if you are the latter – go away (from this story, and my life, probably).

If you LOVE Belle and Sebastian and Stuart Murdoch, you have probably been sitting around waiting for God Help The Girl to be released your whole life (well, if we’re being literal, for five years since the original “God Help The Girl” album was released, but figuratively, probably since the first time you heard a B&S record that changed YOUR life). and much like with most things you’ve been waiting for a long time for, it comes down to this question: Was it worth the wait?

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And much like with most thing you’ve been waiting a long time for, a certain element of heartbreak will come into play. Most of it will relate to whether you actually anticipate this to be A GOOD movie or simply a vehicle for your (pop) feelings.

Objectively speaking, this is not a good movie. Subjectively speaking, I have actually rewatched it at least four times since the original time I saw it (granted fast forwarding through some bits and replaying the music portions over and over again) and I have found something to enjoy about it every single time.

Here are some things to enjoy about it:

  • the songs are, clearly, as close to perfect as humanly possible
  • the young cast (feat. Emily Browning and SKINS alum Hannah Murray) is as fresh faced and nerdy and lovely and awkward at dancing, good at singing, and earnest at chitchatting as you’d imagine. Cheekbones EVERYWHERE too.
  • the somewhat unpinpointable timeframe makes EVERYTHING feel instantly nostalgic and instant nostalgia is a great thing (for lovers of pop-music and otherwise)
  • the songs are, clearly, as close to perfect as humanly possible

Here are some things that you may not enjoy about it:

  • The plotline is flimsier than most music videos these days
  • The dialogue (of the non-sung variety) sometimes sounds like lines from Belle and Sebastian songs that were deemed too damn twee by the rest of the band and therefore vetoed to appear even in Belle and Sebastian songs
  • The visual style is inconsistent and this is sometimes (often) deeply frustrating if you are a person who pays attention to details like photography, cinematography, sound mixing, etc in movies

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But then, this is NOT what this is about. This is about Stuart Murdoch’s dream and, goddammit, Stuart Murdoch has earned his dream to be whatever his dream needs to be. And his dream is about a sweet, not-so-subtle ode to the miracle that pop is and well, if this is how one of the Godfathers of the genre wants to represent his dream, then, I, for one, am willing to give him the leeway to do it. We, as a pop music loving audience should be happy that in 2014 (aka the year of 850325i70 superhero films),  this movie got made, is getting released, and will serve as a time capsule testament that yes, dreams CAN come true.

Also, did I mention that the songs are, clearly, as close to perfect as humanly (or even divinely) possible?