Synopsis: A teenage girl’s life turns upside down when her mother mysteriously vanishes.
[springboard type=”video” id=”1169829″ player=”tmbg001″ width=”599″ height=”336″ ]
Sex, mystery, and deception are all elements you can expect to see in White Bird in a Blizzard. This impressive indie film takes place in the late 80’s and follows the story of Kat Connor (Shailene Woodley) and her seemingly perfect all-American family, that isn’t so perfect. Eve Connor (Eva Green) is unhappy in her marriage and is looking for a way outfrom Brock Connor (Christopher Meloni) who plays her husband and Kat’s father in the film. Brock is the prototypical nice guy and working dadbut is unaware of his wife’s desire to leave him and is typically portrayed as a push-over. Woodley’s character chronicles the events of her parents’ relationship as well as her own relationships with neighbor Phil (Shiloh Fernandez). The story unfolds as a single day with Kat coming home from school meanwhileher mother goes missing. The mystery develops further when the search comes to a standstill and Kat continues to search for answers to her mothers’ disappearance, while dealing with her own relationship issues.
Watching this film you will feel like you are living and relating to the 80’s and Director Gregg Araki does a fantastic job depicting late 80’s middle class America. The complexities and inner workings of a family are exhibited with great detail as the depiction of 1980’s suburbia is impressive. Arkin’s best depiction comes in the showcase of a teenagers 80’s mentality with Kat feeling like and acting like a real teenager with the intimate conversations featured between Kat and her best friends Beth (Gabourey Sidibe) and Mickey (Mark Indelicato) seeming as natural as you would expect. They constantly talk about their sex lives, parents, and fitting into pop culture.
Shailene Woodley gives one of her most authentic performances ever in this film and she’s grounded in her portrayal of a teen while not overselling the performance. She’s rebellious, curious, and stubborn as you would expect a teenage girl to be but what’s emphasized is her sexual aggression. She goes to great lengths to fuel her sexual desires and even goes as far as having an affair with the detective who is searching for her missing mother. Eva Green is as beautiful as ever and plays the lifeless, neurotic, yet desperate mother. Green is so smooth in this portrayal, that at times you think her character might be insane. Christopher Meloni is one the more underrated actors in Hollywood but in this film you basically feel sorry for his dopey nice guy persona. Thomas Jane, who plays Detective Sczieziesczies, is a fine actor and has basically carved out a playboy niche in film since doing the TV series Hung.
White Bird in a Blizzard is mainly a character driven film with the plot centralizing around the complexities of relationships. The inside look of what people present on the surface and what they cover up in private. Every character in the film, minor or main, has some substance and issue they are dealing with. The film gives a bleak perspective on the rose colored era of our society with the 80’s seeming to be all about fun, color, modernization, and coolness. On the surface Araki brings all those elements to light by exposing the dark, bleak, and sad inner family dynamic. The film delivers on authenticity, of the characters and relationships. The story is filled with legitimate suspense and veers the viewer on a couple tangents. The twists are teased well, yet still unexpected. It’s a compelling story delivered by great actors. White Bird in a Blizzard is one of those sleeper films that start getting notice around awards season, this might just be that kinda film.
White Bird in a Blizzard – 8 out of 10
Where did mom go?