Film review | White Bird in a Blizzard

Shailene Woodley's no-holds-barred, all-flesh-bared teen is an eye-opener

Anyone familiar with rising star Shailene Woodley from such wholesome cinematic fare as teen sci-fi fantasy Divergent and young-adult weepie The Fault in Our Stars will be in for a shock when they encounter her no-holds-barred, all-flesh-bared performance in White Bird in a Blizzard.

This bizarre mystery/coming-of-age melodrama from indie maverick Gregg Araki – best known for the anarchic polymorphous perversity of his Teen Apocalypse Trilogy – casts her as a sexually adventurous suburban teenager, Kat Connors, whose desperate housewife of a mother suddenly goes missing, circa 1988.

White Bird in a Blizzard - Eva Green as Eve Connors

Eva Green’s performance as Kat’s mother is even more go-for-broke than her co-star’s (though less of an eye-opener for those who’ve seen her recent turns in 300: Rise of an Empire and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), a deliciously over-the-top, high-camp portrayal of a raving, raging woman driven to the brink of madness by boredom and sexual frustration.

Based on the 1999 novel by Laura Kasischke, Araki’s film is something of a mess, but it’s worth seeing for Woodley and Green, and for some striking images, including Kat’s recurring dream (which gives the movie its title) in which she searches for her mother in the midst of a chillingly beautiful blizzard.

Certificate 15. Runtime 91 mins. Directors Gregg Araki.

Released by Altitude Film Distribution in cinemas and on demand via digital-social platform ourscreen on 6 March, and on digital and DVD from 16 March.

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