Monday, March 13, 2006

SXSW Film: Gretchen

I went to see this film for one big reason, it stars . I went to college with Courtney and we worked at the campus radio station KVRX together (there's that interconnectedness again). She's funny and talented and it's very cool that she's the lead in a feature film.

is an expansion of a short, Gretchen and the Night Danger, that won Best Short at 2004. Gretchen is a socially awkward teenager, "part Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse and part Deb of Napoleon Dynamite," with a lot of problems. Her father's not around, she doesn't have any friends, she wears pink, kitten-encrusted sweatshirts, and boys she's attracted to are not exactly the pick of the litter. Cringingly hilarious.

Davis shines as a character far-removed from her actual personality. Her posture, pursed lips, and wounded eyes shout "I'd rather be anywhere but in my own skin." The supporting cast is uniformly good as well. , a frequent collaborator with Davis, plays against type as bad boy Ricky. does another caring mom role not unlike her part in Freaks and Geeks. It's not flashy, but quality work is quality work.

The movie has some third-act problems. The plot loses focus and flounders a bit before finding its way again for the spot-on ending. Not a great movie, but a worthy entry in the geek canon.
cast & director of Gretchen

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