Wetlands will probably be one of the most disgusting movies you may ever see, but also probably the most interesting coming of age tales you may ever see.
Trigger Warning(s): Vomit Inducing Scenes (Do Not Eat Food While Watching This)
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Helen (Carla Juri) is a teen girl with a curiosity about bodily fluids, sex, drugs, and how testing people’s limits. Leading her to many experiments dealing with putting her vagina and anal area through so much. Though, among seeing her do things which may disgust you, we see a vulnerable side to Helen. For with Helen’s Mother (Meret Becker) and father (Axel Milberg) being divorced, and both eccentric as well, we see how a once innocent little girl, got screwed up in the head by two people who perhaps should have never procreated. Making it so no matter how weird you may find Helen, she is rooted in some sort of humanity.
When it comes to foreign movies, I have learned that they will actually test your palette as a movie goer far past the majority of American media. Wetlands is one of the best examples. For the amount of disgusting things in this film rivals the most goriest American horror film, and yet it has a sort of sweetness to it. If only because the film allows you to understand how Helen became so odd, and Juri plays her in such a way where she doesn’t seem like a caricature, but more so that really odd girl in class you just looked at like she was crazy.
Elaborating further on understanding how Helen became odd, something I liked about the film is that Helen isn’t the type of character you are just expected to accept for who she is. The film instead, through showing Helen’s messed up childhood, of which her mom is a key figure in, brings you to an understanding of how this little girl, with a mom who cut her trust in people, and confidence, whenever she could, could become like Helen.
Now, focusing on the story, and performances a bit, truly Juri is undeniably talented. If only because a character like Helen, who tells stories of anal fissures, among other things, can become instantly creepy, or off-putting, depending on who is playing her. However, no matter if the story is about her childhood, her mom acting loopy, cursing her friend for getting pregnant, or stories dealing with pizza with cum toppings, you still see a glimmer of the innocence of that child who went through so much. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say Becker made for an excellent bad mom, especially when it came to interacting with the younger version of Helen played by Clara Wunsch.
I will probably be haunted for the rest of my days. Which I don’t say in jest for, seriously, every time I swallow spit I think of all the things Helen did and slightly want to vomit. Outside of that, I don’t have any strong complaints. Let me note, though, I couldn’t watch this straight through in one sitting. And I think the reason is because once you get used to the shock and disgusting moments, you are left with a film which may present Helen’s vulnerable moments, which humanize her, but as you try to think of how young Helen becomes teen Helen, it makes you wonder if other important pieces to the puzzle are missing. If only because your own bias may lead to a disbelief of how and why Helen goes to the extremes she does.
Overall: TV Viewing
A part of me wants to label this as Worth Seeing, but what is holding me back is that I don’t think this is the type of film everyone can appreciate. For just with the toilet scene in the beginning, I can see many people getting turned off and ready to tune out. For, truth be told, I was thinking about not covering the film since, within the first 3 minutes, I was ready to barf. However, considering all the praise for Lena Dunham’s Girls, and the call for more diverse views of women, I think movies like Wetlands have their place. I just, ultimately, don’t know if people are ready for true diversity which isn’t based on the viewer being comfortable.