Why so many movies with "The Girl..."?
Writer: Casey Lee
Who is your favourite girl?
"The Girl" may sound like a very generic title, but by starting with one of the plainest titles, it also opens up an opportunity of endless potential as it lures us to sate our curiosity or feed an obsession. Is she a femme fatale? Is she the girl of our dreams? Does she have a hidden past? Will by knowing her reveal something more about ourselves?
The Girl Next Door (2004)
"The Girl" may be a call sign for the lack of creativity, but filmmakers have also used it to cleverly subvert us and our expectations. Here we list out five recent movies starting with "The Girl" that you should take note of, or be more wary of.
Many boys will always remember "The Girl Next Door", starring Elisha Cuthbert who was the perfect embodiment of the title as Danielle. When Danielle first moves into the neighbourhood, she is peeked on by her teenage neighbour. As 'punishment' for his act, Danielle takes the teenager through some wild adventures to help him break out of his nerdy shell until the sexy truth about her past is revealed later. "The Girl Next Door" is a touchstone during the time when raunchy teenage comedies were raging hormones in the early 2000s. While it has plenty of moments of pubescent awakenings, it still gives a lesson or two about loving someone for who they are, rather than objectifying them based on their past (and a dose of healthy sex education).
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
When a disgraced journalist is asked to investigate the missing heiress to an influential family, in comes Lisbeth Salander, who has a sharp intelligence as a hacker. If Danielle from "The Girl Next Door" was the girl every boy dreamed of, then Rooney Mara's Lisbeth Salander is the woman that every man should be afraid of. She is an anger brewed by the mistreatment of men in her life, and her retaliations against them are ruthless and can be ruining. Although Rooney Mara was not director David Fincher's first choice for the role, she was able to capture both the patience needed to plan her revenge while having a passionate side to her when she executes her plans.
The Girl in the Book (2015)
Sometimes the girl in the title doesn't have to be literal, it can also be figurative. When assigned to handle the re-release of a book written by an author she was once acquainted with, Alice is reminded of her past with the author and the scandalous affair they had while she was an impressionable teen. While there is a real girl in "The Girl in the Book", there was never a clear indication of who the girl in the book is really referring to. Was it Alice or the fictional version of her? And is she still the same person she was when she became the subject of the book?
The Girl in the Photographs (2015)
While keeping to the theme of having subjective meanings to the title of "The Girl", there isn't always only one girl in a movie about the girl. For "The Girl in the Photographs", director Nick Simon unleashes a pair Wes Craven-esque serial killers who have a taste of killing women (like any slasher would) and posing their corpses while taking photographs of them. The girl(s) here are the victims, and they are honing in on their latest prey; grocery clerk Collen. Nick Simon does a little subversion with "The Girl in the Photographs". While most movies with such a title is about becoming or knowing more about that one girl, photographer Peter insists on making Coleen the one, there's nothing special about being the one here. The stake here is not to be the girl in the photographs and the fewer we see those photographs the better.
The Girl on the Train (2016)
Closely associated with Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl", this sombre story follows 32-year-old Rachel Watson played by Emily Blunt. Upon separating from her husband, Rachel spirals into depression and takes to hitting the bottle, causing her to frequently pass out. She has also developed an unhealthy fascination towards an attractive young couple whose house is only few doors down from her ex-husband, and coincidently overlooks the train line that Rachel often rides on to and fro from work; which is why she spends most of her time observing the couple. When the woman of the said young couple suddenly vanishes one day, the lines get blurred and it becomes a suspenseful case of whodunnit.
The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
In zombie apocalypse London, a military instalment is defended with a group of children as the few remaining bastions of survivors. The children, locked up and strapped onto bounded wheelchairs, are instructed by a teacher to find out which one of them has the cure to the zombie infection. Adapted from the novel by M.R. Carey, it is no spoiler to say who among the children is the one with the cure, and in this case, it is the catalyst for all sorts of drama for desperate humans, not unlike what'd you imagined if "Children of Men" meets "28 Days Later".
Cinema Online, 03 October 2016