MPAA rating (or equivalent): Rlanguage;
A publicist describing this film said you'll probably either love it or hate it. Unfortunately, it's neither good or bad enough for either of those reactions. Writer-director Mo Ogrodnik's film debut is promising and interesting, but never rises to fascinating. The worst thing about it is the unimaginative title, meant to suggest girls on the cusp of womanhood. The best thing is Wolfgang Held's cinematography which, despite the bleak landscapes and buildings, is often highly evocative and at times even beautiful.
Ogrodnik uses as her lead characters fraternal twin girls who escape an auto accident that takes the lives of their parents (who were abusive anyway, so no big loss, the script suggests) and she admits that each of the girls is intended as a metaphor for one aspect of the dual attitude women (ones like her, at least) feel toward sex. One is open and expectant, welcoming; the other fearful and resentful of anything that has so much power over her and promises so little in return.
The object of a widescale search in the deep south after escaping the accident scene, the twins end up hiding on a military base, which Ogrodnik wants you to know is a symbol for masculinity and the male values of acquisitiveness and aggression. (So much for the feminization of the military.) Violence is always suggested in the way the men interact with each other, and the girls seem to be in great danger both from the edgy young man who picks them up and eventually lets them stay in his shanty house, and the African-American sergeant (Ron Brice) who teaches one of them to shoot. But in the end it is only the girls, or one half of their unified personality, who are dangerously violent.
Though Pete (Gordon Currie), the girls' protector who resembles the young Marjoe Gortner, looks dangerous, Ogrodnik lets us know through a scene in which he is seduced and almost manhandled by an older woman before letting himself be pulled into her clutches, and by the fact that he is a vegetarian (in itself nothing, but coda for "principled"), that he is not an aggressor. It is the twins Violet (Monica Keene) and Rosie (Daisy Eagan) who despite being only 14, innocent looking and very pretty are always unpredictable, see themselves as outlaws, and are as likely to initiate violence as provoke it.
This film has one other strong point going for it: Though I almost always come away saying, "that was a cross between Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane" (or whatever), I can't think of any antecedents that might have inspired this movie. At least it's not derivative so far as I can tell, something you can seldom say of any aesthetic work.
Photo © by the film's distributor
© 1997, Jon Kennedy