Blue My Mind Movie Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Released by Uncork’d Entertainment
Directed by Lisa Brühlmann
Written by Lisa Brühlmann and Dominik Locher
2018, 97 minutes, Not Rated
Released on November 13th, 2018
Luna Wedler as Mia
Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen as Gianna
Lou Haltinner as Nelly
Yael Meier as Vivi
David Oberholzer as Roberto
Is it a bad pun to say that the coming of age story is a ripe one? How about fertile? Alright, that’s a bit on the nose (not to mention a smidge crude), but seriously – there’s so many ways to mine that particular vein for all it’s worth. Some would say that there’s no ore left in the teenage-girl-coming-into-womanhood story, but Blue My Mind disagrees wholeheartedly.
Mia (Luna Wedler; Streakers) is knocking on the door of womanhood. She’s almost 16. Her first period is just starting. She’s moved to a new school in the middle of the year because of her father’s job. She’s desperate to fit in with Switzerland’s version of The Mean Girls – wild and beautiful ringleader Gianna (Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen; Amateur Teens), Nelly (Lou Halitnner; Happy New Year), and Vivi (Yael Meier; Upload). Her parents are so remote and unlike her that she legitimately wonders if she is adopted. In short, it’s the classic teenage hell. Mia starts doing all the things she needs to do to fit in and rebel/adapt: smoking, drinking, having sex, taking drugs. Her life is spinning out of control, and that’s when the changes start – her feet are webbing together, she’s craving raw fish, she’s growing gills…and her legs are becoming something altogether inhuman.
The beauty of the horror in Blue My Mind is that it is both more and less than the sum of its parts. A pair of stellar performances from Wedler and Holthuizen anchor a movie that is too slow-paced for the horror fan that’s looking for in-your-face tension and scares. You could argue that it’s not horror at all, but that would be a great disservice to a coming-of-age story that, while standard in its structure, is deeply nuanced and emotionally charged. You won’t be scared on a traditional level; the horror comes from the effectiveness of the humanity of the story that blows the fantasy wrapping right off and makes you forget that you’re seeing a young woman turn into a fucking mermaid!
As an allegorical tale about the utter brutality of those horrible years when you just have to figure it out the hard way, Blue My Mind is nearly perfect. Mia is transcendent, achingly beautiful and shockingly average in the same breath. Her performance is much less about what she says as it is about how she says it and what her body language says. By countermeasure, Gianna starts off as the ice queen that you hate. Over the course of 97 minutes, she almost steals the show by changing into something much more human while Mia goes in the opposite direction. They’re two ships in the night.
From an entertainment standpoint, Blue My Mind is less than perfect. The pacing is uneven and overall slow. While that is necessary to cement the emotion, it’s easy for the film to lose you if you don’t have the patience for it. The first thing that came to my mind, honestly, is that it’s the slower but ultimately more disturbing twin sister of Ginger Snaps. In a time where the struggle of women is front and center and the old male-dominated attitudes are falling away, Blue My Mind is a film with something to say as opposed to just being shock and awe.
Punches are also not pulled when it comes to male nudity at the end in a highly “mature” setting (given that the characters are not legal by US standards) and generally graphic sexual situations. None of this bothers me, mind you. We’re all big kids here, but I figured that you should know. Combine that with the old “I don’t like to read my movies” gripe about subtitles, and it’s safe to say that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
However, if you’re the type with some patience and an appreciation of first-rate body horror and the hideousness of the human condition, you’ll find that Blue My Mind is a slow-burn beauty that walks you through layers of change. Whether you’re comfortable with that or not is up to you.
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