Best and Worst of 2013 Sundance Film Festival
Nicole Kidman, 'Upstream Color' and 'Before Midnight' make the cut
WORST: 'Very Good Girls'
Director: Naomi Foner
Stars: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Ellen Barkin, Peter Sarsgard, Richard Dreyfuss, Clark Gregg, Boyd Holbrook
Lowdown: The directorial debut of Naomi Foomer, mom to Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal as well as an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for "Running on Empty," "Girls" is a silly coming of age melodrama wrapped in a prestige cast and slick cinematography. The story centers on two best friends played by Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen who end up falling for the same "Rebel Without A Cause" artist (a badly miscast Boyd Holbrook) and who all of a sudden begin to uncharacteristically lie to each other about him. The storyline is predictable, but the film's biggest problem is a lack of authenticity. Fanning is 18, but looks 14. Olsen is 24 and can't play 18 anymore. Besides Olsen and Barkin, none of the actors seem like real New Yorkers and the film has a number of eyebrow raising moments that anyone who lives or visited the New York Metro area will spot a mile away. Foner shows skill in a number of the dramatic scenes, but her script and casting fail her throughout the picture. "Girls" isn't terrible, but it certainly isn't "good" either.
- Gregory Ellwood