Blue Car (2002)

Dir. Karen Moncrieff
6/10

This is a film that received a nomination for best picture in 2003 from some magazine or film organization. You can see the list at metacritic or here at the “Village-Idiot Movie Award Nominees”

Should You See This Film?
I would cautiously recommend this film to other people. If you’ve seen Ruby In Paradise , the subject matter of the film is similar–about a young woman (in this case a teenager)–struggling through life and finding her way.

To know more about why I would cautiously recommend this film, you’re going to have to read my comments on the film. (I’ll try to put spoiler warnings.)

Personal Comments

I really loved the performances of Agnes Bruckner (as Meg) and Margret Colin (as Meg’s mom, Diane). Meg is a basically a good kid—smart, pretty, but definitely longing for love and attention. Bruckner plays this is a quiet way that really pulled won my sympathy. At the same time she can talk back to her mom–there’s a level of resentment that comes out in these episodes.

In those moments, Colin can be quite harsh and cruel in her response, but in an over-the-top fashion. She doesn’t look like a low-income, uneducated, grubby-looking single-mother. Colin is pretty and looks liike any old middle-class mother. It’s just that she’s working in the days, going to school at night and has to raise two children. She just doesn’t have much patience or love to give Meg or her other daughter, Lily. Her sharp retorts to Meg indicate she just has very little to give.

Both actors–and the writer/director should get credit for this, too–balance harsh treatment of each other with moments of civility and affection. Bruckner could have gotten an award or at least a nomination for her performance here.

So why did I cautiously recommend the film?

(Spoiler)

The film moved in a direction that I didn’t want it to–in a darker area. The film starts off with an ap English teacher encouraging Meg to write poems. The teacher, Mr. Auster (David Strathairn), agrees to meet with Meg during lunch to tutor her. There are two scenes where he gives her comments about her poetry, and at that point it seems like this film is going to be a Good Will Hunting or Finding Forester type of movie.

At the same time, I’m concerned about the film taking a Lolita turn. And it does. That’s why I would cautiously recommend the film.

In the end the film seems to be a day in the life of an at-risk kid, one full of promise and her struggle to make it through. However, I didn’t get the same sort of good feeling that I did at the end of Ruby in Paradise. There’s more of a feeling of strength and triumph at the end of that movie.

At the end of the Blue Car, Meg just seems beat up and worn down. I did like her last scene with her mother, a reconciliation scene that wasn’t pat or treacly. Sttill, you don’t get a strong hopeful sense about Meg. She survived, but she’s beaten and her future seems pretty unclear.

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