I’ve seen plenty of teen coming of age movies, but none like Girl Asleep from Australia and first-time director Rosemary Myers. The arc of the story may be familiar – a new school, an excruciatingly awkward boy and an encounter with Mean Girls. The anxiety for our teen protagonist Greta (Bethany Whitmore) is crowned by her parents doing what must be the most embarrassing thing for a teenager – the parents putting on a party for her and inviting everyone at her new school. As the story is set up, we see some glimpses of magical realism. Then, when the party maximizes Greta’s stress, the story is immersed into a trippy Alice in Wonderland parallel universe. It’s all an allegory for the perils of the adolescent journey.
Greta’s batty parents are played with gleaming resolve by Amber McMahon and screenwriter Mathew Whittet. Harrison Feldmore’s total commitment to his role as Greta’s suitor is admirable; he’s not just geeky but enthusiastically so, plunging headlong into a profound geeky totality. Director Myers also has fun with the 1970s milieu, taking particular glee with the short shorts worn by the male characters.
The movie is pretty funny, and you won’t find a trippier coming of age flick. Girl Asleep opens tomorrow in the Bay Area at Camera 3 in San Jose and at the Roxie in San Francisco. Girl Asleep screens with the short film Pickle, a deadpan comedy.