White Bird in a Blizzard: A Review
White Bird in a Blizzard is set in the 1988, and tells the story of Kat Conner, played by Shailene Woodley, a 17 year old girl who seems to live a normal life until her perfect, homemaker mother, Eve, played by Eva Green, disappears one day. Having lived in a dysfunctional relationship with her mother, she feels little pain or sadness towards her mother’s absence. She doesn’t even blame her father, Brock, played by Chris Meloni, as he is too much of a wimp to have anything to do with her disappearance. As a few years go by, and Kat goes to College, she begins to realize just how much her mother’s disappearance really impacted her, as she finds herself investigating and discovering the truth about what really happened.
White Bird in a Blizzard is based on a novel by Laura Kasischke and adapted by director Gregg Araki. Simply put, it is a somewhat bizarre, silly, sex romp, featuring a great lead performance by Shailene Woodley. This film fits director Gregg Araki’s usual teenage sex and violence overtones, and features some pretentious and overbearing dialogue that almost comes off as an unintentional comedy. There are also some interesting things in this film, directing-wise: an unusual opening with a shot of Eve, the mother, on her back and a recurring dream sequence throughout involves Kat seeing her mother naked in the snow (hence the title). This is actually supposed to be a symbol for the film and a clue to the audience about the truth of the mystery. Additionally, the film’s use of flashbacks is both bizarre and fascinating at the same time, making the relationship between mother and daughter all the more dysfunctional and creepy.
In the lead role, Shailene Woodley demonstrates her talents portraying a teenager who really doesn’t know who to trust. The flashback where her mother comes into the room and tries to psychically assault her features some very fine acting by Woodley. In comparison, Eva Green appears more “over the top’ and gives a notably “hammy” performance, portraying a clearly disturbed woman. In one of the scenes, for example, when she tries to act younger than her age and then breakdowns, it is mildly disturbing and gloriously cheesy all at the same time. The other actors in the film are good, especially Chris Meloni as the father who has a secret to hide, and Angela Bassett as a psychiatrist. I found this film to be one of the most fascinating films to be shown at Catamount Arts.