Very Good Girls (Blu-ray)

September 8, 2014 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’m sure that I’ve said this before, but doing this site really does give me the opportunity to watch (and subsequently review) some films that I’d never really think of watching otherwise. I realize there are some people out there that hit up the art house theaters to see anything and everything that’s not mainstream and that’s great. I’m just not one of those folks, but I do like to broaden my horizon on occasion. I don’t know what possessed me to take a look at Very Good Girls. I’ve been a fan of Dakota Fanning for years as I think she’s a wonderfully talented actress and it’s kind of hard not to notice Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley) as she’s done a fine job of escaping the shadow of her sisters.  But when I took a look at the film and saw that it was about two girls trying to lose their virginity before they head off to college, well…I’m sorry but my mind went directly to American Pie. Yes, I realize this film is a knock off of 1980’s Little Darlings, but that was a bit before my time.  At any rate, I’ll stop babbling.

Lilly (Dakota Fanning) is off to Yale in the Fall. She lives at home with her sisters, mother (Ellen Barkin) and father (Clark Gregg) when she finds said father (a physician who works out of his home) getting a bit friendly with a patient. Lilly’s best friend, Gerri (Elizabeth Olsen) has a more laid back family life with her father (Richard Dreyfuss) and mother (Demi Moore) entertain and munch on gluten-free meals.  After running naked in the ocean (it’s never really explained why), the duo meet David (Boyd Holbrook), a street vendor with whom both girls are instantly attracted. Of course David has to have depth, so he’s one of those who perpetually carries around a camera trying to capture the “beauty and essence” of everything around. Gerri makes no secret of her intentions with David, however when Lilly starts seeing him on the side it sets the stage for a cat fight to end all cat fights. Will our two heroines accomplish their goal of losing their virginity before school or will they be let down?

The theme of this film has been done so many times that the deck was stacked against Writer/Director Naomi Foner (Mother of Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal for those that are interested) from the start. Certainly the film has no shortage of talent with Olsen and Fanning, but the talents of Demi Moore, Ellen Barkin, Clark Gregg and Richard Dreyfuss were essentially wasted other than their marquee value. The film is a bit tired and predictable and while it has some good parts in it, I just felt that I was in for a 91 minute ride in which I knew how the film would end just after the opening credits rolled (and, wouldn’t you know it, I was correct). I wouldn’t classify this as a “bad” movie as I did enjoy the way the film was shot and it’s got a pretty interesting soundtrack to say the least. But at 41 years old I’m not, and haven’t been, concerned with losing my virginity in quite some time. Fans of Fanning or Olsen might want to give this a look, but I’d advise a rental before placing this on your bookshelf.

Video: How’s it look?

Without doing any research, I’d have to say that this film was shot using all digital cameras. This has what I refer to as a “new” look and feel to it. Now that might sound a bit ambiguous, but it just has a sharpness and clarity that’s hard to get using traditional film. The color palette is washed out which gives the stark white skin of Dakota Fanning a very interesting look. When I’d watched the interviews after the film, we can see how much more color she has in these “real” shots. It’s not so washed out that it’s surreal, but it certainly has a very etherial vibe to it (some scenes more than others). The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is among the most unique and best I’ve seen in a while.

Audio: How’s it sound?

I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot out of the DTS HD Master Audio sound mix, but I have to admit that it does sport a surprisingly ample sound stage. By that I mean I was pretty impressed with the sonics, channel separation and overall impact of the mix.  The film has a very jazzy, soulful array of songs that seem to resonate out of the channels. It adds to the mood and creates a very unique atmosphere. Vocals are, as expected, rich and crisp without the slightest hint of distortion. There’s a lot of dialogue in the film and it’s presented here with the utmost clarity.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There aren’t a lot of supplements here, just some included interviews.

  • Interviews
      Naomi Foner, Writer and Director – All of the interviews are introduced with the questions on a splash screen and the cast/crew then respond to those questions accordingly. In this first one, we get the inspiration that Foner used for the screenplay, the casting and the movie in general.

      Dakota Fanning – Fanning reflects on her character, her interest in the role and so forth.

      Elizabeth Olsen – Essentially the same as Fanning above.

      Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen – A little more robust, the two tell of some of the stories from the set, how close they became during the shoot and the overall impact of the film.

  • Theatrical Trailer

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