Blue Car (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/10/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Describing the plot synopsis of Blue Car makes it sound worryingly like a daytime TV movie with disturbing Lolita-like overtones.

However, this is far from the truth, as writer-director Karen Moncrieff has taken great pains not to demonise either of her central characters and she’s rewarded with two terrific central performances.

Up-and-coming young actress Agnes Bruckner (blink and you may have missed her in The Glass House, though she was the girlfriend in Murder By Numbers) stars as Meg, a lonely, sensitive, troubled high school student, who comes to the attention of her poetry teacher, Auster (David Strathairn), when she reads a poem about her father leaving her family.

He gives her lots of encouragement and persuades her that her poem might be good enough for a national competition, to be held in Florida.

All Going To End In Tears

A glance at Meg’s home life tells us everything we need to know about her. Her mother (Margaret Colin) is over-worked, seems distant and doesn’t have time for her. Meanwhile her little sister Lily (Regan Arnold) is becoming increasingly disturbed and is given to harming herself…

Naturally, then, Meg finds herself drawn to the only person who seems prepared to take an interest in her, and soon she is sharing Auster’s sandwiches and allowing him to drive her home from school.

However, this is not a typical ‘student seduced by teacher’ tale – Auster hates himself for what he’s doing but he can’t stop himself. Similarly, Meg may be beautiful, but she’s no Lolita – a physical relationship is the furthest thing from her mind.

Anti-Fantasy

There are several great scenes, such as when Meg discovers the truth about Auster’s ‘novel’, or when she has a brief meeting with Auster and his wife (Frances Fisher) on the beach.

Also, the inevitable sex scene is handled brilliantly – it is heart-breaking to watch, as you pity both characters. As a result, it’s not remotely titilating and serves as a kind of ‘anti-fantasy’ scene.

The performances by both David Strathairn and Agnes Bruckner are superb. Bruckner is amazing in a complex role – her character’s smiles are hard-won but when they come they seem to symbolise her coming out of herself. Similarly, Strathairn is never less than human, though eventually you come to pity his character.

In short, Blue Car is worth seeing for its performances and may serve as a useful cautionary tale. Recommended.

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Blue Car (15)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 03:04

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