"Emotional Healing Through Faith and Music"
What You Need To Know:
Though it should be shorter, GOD HELP THE GIRL is an affecting, entertaining time at the movies. It has a terrific music score that should put a smile on most anyone’s face and a tap in their toes. Surprisingly, it contains some positive references to God, faith and church. The movie definitely means what its title suggests, that God can help Eve out if she lets Him into her life. However, this content is combined with some Romantic elements, serious discussions about Eve’s mental health issues, and brief foul language and other lewd content. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for GOD HELP THE GIRL.
(Pa, RoRo, CC, BB, LL, V, S, AA, M) Light mixed pagan worldview with strong Romantic elements combined with overt references to God, church and faith but in a liberal setting in Scotland; 11 to 15 obscenities and profanities, including a few “f” words; some light violence; brief sexual content includes quick shot of a teenage couple passionately kissing with the girl’s clothed breast caressed, and girl later seen waking up in his bed, but she feels guilty about the sexual encounter; depictions of Scot teenagers drinking alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, teenage rebellion, teenage pranks against adults, frank discussions of teenage girl’s mental and emotional problems, including her eating disorder and suicidal tendencies (she seems to overcome her problems through her songwriting expression with two other youths.
GOD HELP THE GIRL is a modern-day pop musical set in Glasgow, Scotland. It follows the adventures of a teenage girl who escapes a mental-health facility and flourishes by learning to write songs alongside a new pair of musician friends. GOD HELP THE GIRL has a Romantic worldview but also several positive references to faith and God that give it a strong moral undertone most of the time as well. Some foul language and other brief lewd content warrant strong caution.
The story to this movie is fairly simple. An insecure teenage beauty named Eve (Emily Browning) sings from the start about her frustrating life stuck in a mental hospital, where she appears to be recovering from an eating disorder and possibly a suicide attempt. She escapes early in the movie and runs into a bigger city. There, she soon meets a music-making dreamer named James (Olly Alexander) and another singer named Cassie (Hannah Murray).
Lacking a safe place to stay, Eve moves into an extra room in James’ apartment, though the relationship is strictly friendly and Platonic. She does, however, fall under the spell of a wilder teenage rock singer and is briefly seen engaged in passionate kissing and clothed caressing before being shown waking up miserable in the singer’s bed.
James, Cassie and Eve strive to make great music together and make a name on their local music scene. However, they are thrown off-balance by Eve’s secret affair coming to light. James is crestfallen and stays away from her for days, while saying he’s engaging in prayer at a church to get through his heartbreak.
Thus, there are several major positive references to God and the Bible in this ostensibly secular musical. This is a pleasant surprise that also coincides with the surprise of discovering remarkable new talent in the movie’s three leads and a truly terrific pop music score that should put a smile on most anyone’s face and a tap in anyone’s toes.
GOD HELP THE GIRL definitely means what its title suggests, that God can help Eve out if she lets Him into her life. However, it does so in a matter-of-fact rather than an obvious or preachy fashion, so the movie could get some rock and pop music lovers paying more attention to Godly matters themselves. Ultimately, it’s an affecting, entertaining time at the movies, marred on the artistic front that it could have been 15 to 20 minutes shorter to achieve perfection. Otherwise, the movie’s brief foul language (including a few “f” words) and brief suggestive moments warrant strong caution. GOD HELP THE GIRL also contains some serious discussions about Eve’s mental health issues.
GOD HELP THE GIRL is written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of the British pop group Belle and Sebastian. Murdoch puts Christian and faith references in some of his lyrics. According to a 2004 story published in The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/music/2004/jul/17/popandrock), Murdoch is a “church-going Christian.” He adds, “I’m not actually a Christian with a capital C. I’m still asking questions, but I had this time when I found myself singing all these old hymns in my kitchen, and I couldn’t work out why I was doing it. Then one Sunday morning I got up, looked at my watch, and thought, ‘I wonder if I could make it to a church service?’ It was so welcoming. It just felt like you were coming home. Twelve years later, I’ve never left.”