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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Agnes Bruckner, David Strathairn
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Karen Moncrieff
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
96 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Miramax
 "Blue Car" Review 
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"Blue Car" is one of the more stunning films I've seen on the subject of sexual abuse and family dynamics. Written and directed by Karen Moncrieff, the action centers around Meg. Meg is a rebellious teenager who has an extremely strained relationship with her mother, and unresolved issues regarding a not so distant divorce. Clearly, she's in need of a strong parental figure in her life. She's also in need of affirmation, guidance and support. In walks a teacher, played powerfully by David Strathairn...this teacher takes an interest, encourages her and after reading some of her revealing poetry encourages her to enter a contest. As Meg's life spirals downward, her reliance on her teacher's support increases creating a relationship that results in too deep a level of intimacy culminating in its sexual expression. How this all unfolds is what makes this film so beautiful. Strathairn gets inside his character without making him too sympathetic...his own family dynamics, personality and needs that get met by playing the savior to Meg. It's an incredible performance. As wonderful as Strathairn is, the true find of this film is Agnes Bruckner as Meg...Bruckner offers a stunning performance balancing her emotional complexities, teenage insecurities and deep need to trust someone. The dialogue supplied by Moncrieff is incredibly realistic, and Bruckner has clearly embraced this character and given a performance of magnificent depth. Bruckner is, in fact, a teenager herself indicating a tremendous future theatrically. The entire cast is wonderful here...I have a few minor quibbles that keep this from being an "A" for me. First, the ending is remarkably melodramatic for a film that stayed so realistic throughout...it's a letdown, and not a very realistic one. Secondly, the exploration of Meg's family dynamics is, at times, a bit off-kilter and doesn't offer the depth that most of the film offers. In most films, I wouldn't have noticed because very few films offer this kind of depth. In this film, however, those moments of shallow exploration are noticeable. These quibbles aside, this is a stunning, powerful film featuring outstanding performances from its leads David Strathairn and Agnes Bruckner.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
    • B: 3 Stars                         
    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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