Review: ‘The Exploding Girl’

'The Exploding Girl'

Almost nothing happens in the first half-hour of and then, suddenly, nothing much else happens.

Almost nothing happens in the first half-hour of “The Exploding Girl,” and then, suddenly, nothing much else happens. Atmospheric but oh-so-slight, this low-budget drama, helmed by Bradley Rust Gray (“Salt”), concerns a young college girl with epilepsy who comes home to Gotham during spring break and hangs out with a guy-friend who secretly fancies her. Pic reps obvious fodder for programmers seeking new “mumblecore” fare to showcase at fests and specialty cinemas, but only the most patient and action-adverse auds will groove to this.

Up-and-coming thesp Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of Elia Kazan, plays Ivy, a twentysomething student who unfussily copes with epilepsy. When her friend Al (Mark Rendall) needs a place to crash, Ivy and her mother (Maryann Urbano) let him crash on their couch. Composed in long, unbroken takes, the pic features improvised scenes of Ivy and Al walking together, partying and playing cards, interspersed with scenes of Ivy calling her b.f., who’s clearly not all that into her. Both comely leads offer engaging presences, and there’s some pretty imagery, shot adequately on HD, but it’s all so slight and featherweight one viewer sneezing could blow it all offscreen.

The Exploding Girl


Soandbrad production, in association with MPS Prods. (International sales: Memento Films, Paris.) Produced by So Yong Kim, Karin Chien, Ben Howe, Bradley Rust Gray. Executive producers, Jason Diamond, Josh Diamond, Billfield Cheng, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen. Directed, written by Bradley Rust Gray.


Camera (color, DV-to-HD), Eric Lin; editor, So Yong Kim, Gray; music, Mum. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 7, 2009. Running time: 80 MIN.


Zoe Kazan, Mark Rendall, Maryann Urbano.

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