Girl Picture – Sundance Review

Best friends Mimmi and Rönkkö share everything. From their clothes to their jobs to their most profound, darkest secrets and most intimate stories – they are inseparable from one another. One day, they meet Emma, who’s the complete opposite of them; a shy and somewhat quiet yet determined ice skater who is focused on perfecting her craft until she makes an instant connection with Mimmi. The film detours a bit here, in the best possible way, when Rönkkö goes down the rabbit hole of dating, sexual exploration, and self-discovery. 

Alli Haapasalo’s Girl Picture does a beautiful job within the first twenty minutes of establishing the bond of our three leads. Still, it also makes it wise to flesh them out individually so that the film can flow just as organically when they separate into their own stories. Sometimes when films have this structure, they can easily fall apart by having one of the stories not be as interesting as the other – but luckily, Girl Picture never succumbs to that.
From the get-go, I was particularly taken aback by the cinematography from Jarmo Kiuru. The film’s visual style helps tell the story and convey the emotions the characters feel in a unique way that stops short of being style over substance. Every frame of this film has so much detail, and it’s equally impressive that the character work and performances are just as vital as the visuals. All of this makes for an excellent, intimate, and somewhat unique coming-of-age film. 

Some of the drama gets a tad bit repetitive by the end of the film, and I think the film struggles with allowing itself to end, but those are the only serious faults I can give to the film. Alli Haapasalo directs a tender, lively, surprisingly funny, and overall beautiful film where the characters feel like actual people you could very well know. It’s not necessarily a twist of anything you’ve seen before in a narrative sense, but Haapasalo’s emotional lens and patience behind the camera make all the difference by the end.

Rating: B+

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