×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Forgetting the Girl’

First-time director Nate Taylor skillfully evokes a clammy sense of dread in this stealthily suspenseful indie thriller.

With:

Christopher Denham, Lindsay Beamish, Elizabeth Rice, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Phyllis Somerville.

It may seem counterintuitive to describe a psychosexual thriller as a pleasant surprise, but “Forgetting the Girl” really is the sort of small-budget gem that belies the familiarity of its logline and impresses with its polished professionalism. First-time feature helmer Nate Taylor, working from an adroitly constructed screenplay by Peter Moore Smith, skillfully evokes a clammy sense of dread in this stealthily suspenseful indie about a New York photographer obsessed with shifting his focus from past and present unpleasantness. Limited theatrical play could help elevate the pic’s profile and enhance prospects in home-screen formats.

Right from the start, as photog Kevin Wolfe (Christopher Denham) videotapes a portentously confessional monologue, viewers are primed to suspect the character’s customary affability is more apparent than real. But as “Forgetting the Girl” progresses, one cannot help suspecting that this first impression is a shrewdly planted fakeout. Indeed, Taylor and Smith continually play on their audience’s awareness of other thrillers, raising expectations of predictable “surprises” — which, of course, makes it all the easier for them to upend those expectations, and all the more difficult to provide any sort of spoiler-free plot synopsis.

Kevin, a studio shutterbug who specializes in headshots of actresses and models, had developed a radical way to deal with a childhood trauma: Through sheer force of will, he simply forgets anything (or anyone) that troubles or embarrasses him. This talent proves very handy in his line of work because — largely due to his emotional neediness — he repeatedly tries too hard, and fails too dismally, while trying to connect, romantically or otherwise, with women he photographs.

Trouble is, Kevin spends so much time reaching out to these women, and then erasing his burdensome memories, that he doesn’t seem to fully appreciate two things the audience can’t help noticing: Tanner (Paul Sparks), his porn-loving landlord, is quite a creepy fellow, and Jamie (Lindsay Beamish), his goth-chick assistant, wants to be considerably more than just a reliable employee.

Denham hits all the right notes to sustain the unsettling ambiguity of his character, while Beamish is adeptly affecting and, in one key scene near the end, ineffably heartbreaking. Sparks gets one of the pic’s biggest laughs, for reasons that cannot be revealed here. It should be noted, though, that his character’s online surfing preferences likely explain the shout-out to YouPorn in the closing credits.

Nimbly atmospheric lensing by Mark Pugh and deftly emphatic editing by Victoria Lesiw are standout elements in a first-rate technical package.

Film Review: 'Forgetting the Girl'

Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Oct. 8, 2013. (In WorldFest/Houston Film Festival.) Running time: 85 MIN.

Production:

A RAM Releasing release of a Full Stealth Films production. Produced by Brian Gonsar, Victor Reyes, Camiren Romero, Nate Taylor. Executive producer, Dennis Wallestad. Co-producers, Christopher Denham, Varun Shah.

Crew:

Directed by Nate Taylor. Screenplay, Peter Moore Smith. Camera (color), Mark Pugh; editor, Victoria Lesiw; music, Robert Miller; music supervisor, Jackie Mulhearn; production designer, Nadya Gurevich; art director, Thorstein “Thor” Foss; costume designer, Naomi Wolff;  special effects supervisor, Ian Glaum; sound, Carmine Picarello; associate producers, Rebecca Heineman, Bliss Holloway, Talya Taylor; assistant director, Bethanie Schwartz; casting, Ann Goulder, Gayle Keller, Anne Teutschel.

With:

Christopher Denham, Lindsay Beamish, Elizabeth Rice, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Phyllis Somerville.

More Film

  • SAG Awards: Nominees Include Popular Films

    Screen Actors Guild Props Up Popular Players in Film, Ignores Critical Darlings

    Something noteworthy in the world of awards watching happened last year: For the first time ever, the winner of the Motion Picture Academy’s best picture prize, “The Shape of Water,” was a film not nominated for the Screen Actors Guild’s ensemble award. It was a bit of trivia that stood as a sort of bellwether. [...]

  • Gkids Takes Salvador Simó’s ‘Buñuel in

    Gkids Acquires ‘Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Gkids, the U.S. distributor of ten Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations including this year’s “The Breadwinner,” has acquired North American rights to Spaniard Salvador Simó’s “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles.” Gkids will release the film theatrically next year. The animated feature is sold worldwide by Spain’s Latido Films; the all-rights [...]

  • Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to

    Film Review: 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Nostalgia is a quaint word, one that summons visions of things that are toasty, comfy, wholesome, reassuring — all qualities, as it happens, that we associate with the 1964 Walt Disney nanny-from-heaven musical “Mary Poppins.” Yet nostalgia can also be a magical thing. It’s the great time machine of human emotion, with the power to [...]

  • O_163_wem_1360_comp_v003_01,1159 2 – L-R: Gwilym Lee

    SAG Award Nominations: Biggest Snubs and Surprises

    At the SAG Awards nominations Wednesday morning, “A Star Is Born” led the film pack with four nods and while that wasn’t a surprise, there were plenty of snubs and surprises that caught us off guard. On the television side, a plethora of co-stars are competing against each other, as both male and female actors [...]

  • DF-04714_R2 - Jennifer Lawrence stars as

    20th Century Fox Takes Final Bow at CineAsia

    If it is possible to feel sympathy for the demise of a competitor, such feelings were on display Wednesday evening at the CineAsia distributors and exhibitors’ convention in Hong Kong. 20th Century Fox made what was expected to be its final product presentation at the event as an independent studio. The mega-acquisition of Fox by [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    SAG Nominations Scorecard: Netflix Leads the Pack

    Netflix led the way among all networks and studios with this year’s SAG nominations, garnering 15 nods thanks to programming like “GLOW,” “Ozark,” “Grace and Frankie” and “The Kominsky Method.” “Ozark” was among the select group of titles to snare four nominations, along with “A Star Is Born” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” On the [...]

  • SAG Nominations: 'A Star Is Born,'

    'A Star Is Born,' 'Mrs. Maisel,' 'Ozark' Lead SAG Awards Nominations

    Musical drama “A Star Is Born” led the way with four SAG feature film nominations, while “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Ozark” each scored a quartet of TV nominations. “BlacKkKlansman” and “The Favourite” both took a trio of film nominations, followed by “Barry,” “GLOW,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “The Kominsky Method,” each scoring three TV [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content