Hey folks, Harry here... Here's a reader review from Supergirl of a very intense sounding movie starring the young talent, Chloe Moretz and takes us to even more disturbing corners than she has previously explored. Primarily being sexual. This is the first word I've heard on this one - there's spoilers in the second half of the review, so watch out. Really enjoying Toronto, though I haven't had the opportunity to check much of anything out. But Copernicus and Anton Sirius are checking out a ton of stuff - and hopefully more of you AICN readers that are attending the fest will continue to send us some word on some of what you're seeing... There's too much up here to see for any site to really try to cover it all. So let's hear from ya. Here's Supergirl on HICK:
Hi Harry, Supergirl here.
HICK premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival today, the new film starring Chloe Grace Moretz - my top choice to play yours truly in the inevitable movie adaptation of my life and times, by the way. Carol Ferris - er, Blake Lively - is also in the film, so you know I'm gonna be down for a cross-America road movie starring Hit Girl and Star Sapphire. Lotta pink in that prospective picture - what could possibly go wrong?
Well quite a lot apparently. This is one confused, and ultimately very ugly, movie. I'm going to do my best to keep the top half of my thoughts on the film non-spoiler, but I have to get into some endgame details towards the bottom half of the review to really underline a point. I'll warn.
HICK is about a 13-year-old girl from Nebraska named Luli, who, on her thirteen birthday, correctly assesses that she is stuck in a go-nowhere life, and hits the road to head for Vegas. She trades on the rising heat of her sexuality to bum rides, and along the way she gets mixed up with a twentysomething cowboy/drifter played by Eddie Redmayne, and a beautiful strawberry lady named Glenda, played by Lively.
From the outset, this movie's sexual politics are reeeeaallllly eerie and confusing. Let's reiterate the starting line here: this is a movie about a 13-year-old girl, but the film is completely preoccupied with her beauty and sexuality to the point of being immediately creepy. Don't get me wrong: 13-year-olds have sexualities too. But the mouth-feel of HICK is not unlike the photographic work of a guy who shows up at a topless beach to snap digital photos of the pretty girls. There's a leering pretense to the proceedings from the moment we spend an entire early scene watching Moretz wander around in frilly rainbow underpants, talking to an adult man. It only gets worse as the threat of sexual violence is introduced, repeatedly, into the scenario.
If they wanted to sell me on Luli as a down-on-her-luck southern girl out on the open road, they should have backed off on the glam sexpot shots of Moretz, who has an unbelievably perfect cascade of blonde hair in every single frame of the story, even the scene where she - literally - wakes up after falling asleep in a ditch. This same scene introduces Lively's character - brought into the movie pissing while standing up, which immediately attracts her to Luli for all the obvious reasons. Lively plays a more lived-in role here, but Moretz/Luli is a pure jailbait fantasy - and what makes HICK really disconcerting is that no one ever really seems to question it.
The film retains a happy-go-lucky tone which is seriously, seriously misjudged. It leads the audience in the wrong direction.
AND HERE WITH THE SPOILERS.
Towards the end of the picture, HICK decides to go the full HOUNDDOG on another up-and-coming blonde tween actress, and sees Luli finally fall afoul of a rape. Because, you know, what the world needed was another Dakota Fanning Rape Movie. The rape is, as they say, "tastefully done." But it's still a rape. This child is dragged into a field and raped, and then wakes up on a bed tied down, and is told that she will remain bound whenever her captor is not around.
And. The. Audience. Laughed.
This is how completely HICK misjudged its tone. I don't blame the audience, though they're a sack of douchebags for not cottoning to the reality of what they were watching far sooner. But HICK absolutely leads them down this dark garden path by playing itself off as a charming and winsome bildungsroman about a young teenager finding herself, while simultaneously taking the entire frame to profoundly dark, and morally reprehensible, places.
Look: I was a big defender of KICK-ASS. I think that movie is terrific. I have read what the dissenting critics have said [cough]Ebert[cough] about that film's subjecting Moretz to incredible physical violence. But. KICK-ASS is, in its every single frame, a fully-avowed fantasy. It never pretends to be anything else; it's even photographed identically to SPIDER-MAN to underline the point!
HICK, meanwhile, looks and feels like JUNO right up till the kid is dragged into the cornfield by the 26-year-old cowboy who has been romantically pursuing her through the whole movie. Read that again: a will-they / won't-they "romance" has been teased throughout HICK between Moretz and Redmayne's cowboy character. And yet, at no point in the film, does anyone suggest that this relationship might be a bad idea because the cowboy is literally double the age of the underage girl. They just think he's a bad seed.
What a weird, profoundly disturbing movie HICK is - and not, I think, on purpose. Just because of how clearly misguided its makers were.
Off to the skies. Back with more later.