Molly's Girl Review

Molly (Kristina Valada-Viars) has had no luck with men on the speed-dating circuit. However, one night she meets Mercedes (Emily Schweitz), a gay-marriage activist who has just been dumped by her girlfriend. Drowning their sorrows in drink, they end up in bed together, which is a transformative experience for the hitherto hetero Molly. At first Mercedes tries to keep an enthusiastic Molly at bay, but when she discovers that Molly is the daughter of a politically opposed senator, the two women hatch a plan in which they turn up at the senator's birthday pretending to be a couple...

Molly's Girl is a low-budget indie written and directed by Scott Thompson. Some will no doubt disapprove of a lesbian movie directed by a man, as the traps of voyeurism and male fantasy loom very large. Yet there is a major precedent, albeit one over thirty years old, in another story of a straight woman discovering her own Sapphic side, namely John Sayles's Lianna. Thompson's film isn't on that level, but it's an entertaining one all the same, though done in by overlength and a somewhat irresolute screenplay which seems undecided as to who the protagonist, effectively switching from Molly to Mercedes about twenty-five minutes in.

Thompson plays his film as a comedy of deception rather than a love story, which he more or less keeps offscreen. (The 15 certificate is for language and sexual references.) It ends up with a message that we should all be what we are and to accept that, which is something so uncontroversial that only the most rabid homophobe would be likely to object. This isn't a film intended to confront, like the New Queer Cinema of two decades ago, but to console and amuse, and it does that well enough, and looks suitably slick and colourful, due to the cinematography of Kaitlyn busbee and Aaron Riggs. The lead performances are attractive, with Kristina Valada-Viars ably suggesting vulnerability below the ditsy motormouthed exterior. It's certainly pleasant enough and would be much sharper if it had shed about twenty minutes.

The Disc

TLA Releasing's DVD of Molly's Girl is dual-layered and encoded for Region 2 only. It begins with a screen which gives you a choice of English or French. If you select the latter, you get a different distributor ident, French language copyright notices and menus, and electronic French subtitles appearing on the feature and extras, which can be switched off via your remote. In either language, the disc plays trailers for Mommy is Coming and Mary Marie.

The feature is in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. I suspect the intended ratio would be 1.85:1. As mentioned above, Molly's Girl was shot digitally, on the Canon EOS 7D, which captures at a resolution of 1080p. On this standard-def PAL DVD, colours are vibrant, shadow detail is fine and blacks are solid, giving a slick look that's quite in keeping.

The soundtrack is Dolby Surround (2.0), though the surrounds are really only used for music. Dialogue is clear and the soundtrack is well-balanced. There are no English hard-of-hearing subtitles available but as mentioned above there are French ones.

The extras begin with two deleted scenes (presented as one title, 4:51), the second featuring a single long take during which Molly is propositioned in a car park. The other extra is a very long (4:15) theatrical trailer.

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