A young girl’s mother disappears, seemingly without reason, and it haunts her for the next 2 years of her life.
Review (with Spoilers)
With Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Gabourey Sidibe, Angela Bassett, and Mark Indelicato, who I haven’t seen in anything since Ugly Betty got cancelled, in this movie, I found myself very interested in this film. Especially since Woodley, like her co-star in The Spectacular Now, Miles Tiller, who also has a new movie out this weekend, has come such a long way over a year. But, question is, when Woodley is the star, and not the love interest, nor has a huge series backing her, can she make a movie a hit?
Characters & Story
Around Kat’s (Shailene Woodley) 18th birthday her mother Eve (Eva Green) disappeared. For what reason? Well, we are only given theories. Kat thinks it was because she was unhappy and just decided one day to up and leave; Detective Scieziesciez (Thomas Jane) thought maybe Kat’s dad Brock (Christopher Meloni) did it, but there is no evidence; and with no answers to where her mom would be, she became a phantom of Kat’s dreams. One which always appears somewhere in the snow, in the fetal position, as vulnerable as can be.
White Bird in a Blizzard is the type of movie most actresses who have found mainstream success do in order to flex their acting muscles. Show that they aren’t just capable of playing the character, or type of characters, which made them famous, and that they are legit actresses. Something Woodley kind of does as she plays Kat. For while I don’t necessarily see her performance as Kat as something necessarily praiseworthy, Woodley through Kat shows she is capable of being more than sugar sweet, naïve, or even just someone’s love interest. To me, the film’s main thing worth praising is that it gives you the impression that Woodley could very well transition into more adult roles, and not just be stuck playing a teenager for as long as it is believable.
However, outside of Woodley showing she could maybe play characters we are not used to seeing her as, there isn’t much to praise here. The names mentioned in the intro don’t have strong supporting roles, and as for Eva Green, while her character has an interesting story, to a certain point, Eve being bipolar and hardly understandable until the end made it so it seemed like Green was just playing another character who seemed to be as beautiful as can be, but crazier than anyone could ever handle.
Leading to us talking about the main story which deals with Eve’s disappearance. Something which, until maybe halfway through the movie, really wasn’t something you really had reason to give a damn about. Making it so it seemed like us watching Kat talk about having sex, doing the actual act, growing up slightly, and being haunted by her mom, would be all the film would show. However, as the mother’s whereabouts start becoming a topic of interest, the film gains some sense of purpose. But while the last minute twists and turns were interesting, in their own way, honestly I stopped caring to the point that while I was genuinely surprised due to the last-minute twists, the moments seemed like a last ditch effort so that in moments of nostalgia you may have thought this movie was decent.
Overall: Skip It
While it is nice to see Woodley exhibit some range, honestly Kat playing against how Woodley often comes off isn’t worth watching this film. For, at the end of the day, no one in this film is that interesting. In fact, probably the most alluring thing about this movie is perhaps seeing Woodley half nude every now and then. Which I know is a bit messed up to say, but think of how many actresses out there solely keep getting work, from what it seems, because they are young and attractive. Well, though I won’t say we should throw Woodley into that pile, I do think this is the type of film which may possibly help get her seen in different ways, but perhaps not in the ways an actress would necessarily want. Hence the Skip It label. For while Woodley does sort of crack the idea she can perhaps only play some girl next door type, unfortunately, it isn’t through a quality performance but just her nudity.