20 July 2002 | oldskool72
Pipped at the post
Its a couple of years since i saw this film, so please bear with me while i remember it through "rose tinted spectacles" but "Girl with.." is the story of a mixed-raced teenager growing up in 1970's Leicester (an average industrial city in the Midlands, UK) and her rites of passage to becoming the adult she wants to be. She is encouraged by her athletics teacher (the now well-known UK actor John Thomson - Pete from "Cold Feet" aka "Life Love & Everything Else" in the US) to follow her dream of being a professional runner, meanwhile her mother is another kettle of fish........
I grew up in 1970's Leicester so it was of particular interest to me, and in that respect it didnt dissapoint. Where it does dissapoint is that the writer/director has tried to tackle too many issues in one (low-budget) film - Racism, coming of age, religion (of sorts), sex, and the great working class dilemma of gifted children being dragged down by the "low achiever" mentality of those around them.
I wont spoil it but the end is just plain weird and almost unconnected - the sort of film where you think "it was watchable... but the ending.... why??". Some re-editing and tailoring of the plot could have put this film up with "East is East" etc (which incidentally was the story of ethnic minority kids growing up in a 1970's Industrial City - it came out a year or so later to a much wider audience).
We are very lucky here in the UK to have so many different cultures (and indeed hybrids of those cultures) that we can draw from and learn from, and sometimes laugh WITH (as opposed to laugh AT) on the big screen. "Girl with" suffered on the humour tip - i think some more lighthearted moments may have helped this film along a little.
An ambitious attempt, which ultimately got pipped at the post...... Great title though!!