The psychedelic, funky 70s is the ideal setting for this outrageously quirky coming-of-age comedy, based on Windmill Theatre’s hit play in the 2014 Adelaide Festival of Arts. Best of all, many of the original stage cast return for this celluloid retelling.
Girl Asleep is one of two South Australian films screening this year that have been developed thanks to the Adelaide Film Festival’s HIVE Fund and it can be summed up in one simple adjective: marvellous. An extended review could easily read “utterly marvellous”.
Those who shy away from the bizarre may find Girl Asleep hard to swallow but this charming comedy thoroughly entertains to the very end. It follows 14 year old Greta (Bethany Whitmore) and her scene-stealing friend Elliott (Harrison Feldman) who are both outsiders struggling to let go of their childhood. When Greta’s bizarro parents (delightfully played with overbearing relish by Amber McMahon and writer Matthew Whittet) throw her a 15th birthday party, Greta soon becomes a victim of her own unpopularity and enters a forest dreamscape filled with mystical creatures, an ice queen and endless danger.
Unexpected groovy dance routines litter the storytelling, as do background antics that are well worth looking out for. While the dream scenes keep the weirdness, they replace most of the comedy for tension, with Director Rosemary Myers making a clear distinction between Greta’s two worlds.
The focus of the film may be on young people but the antics are something that should appeal to any age, particularly those who remember the 1970s, their childhood awkwardness, or that moment when they suddenly grew up.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 9
Girl Asleep opens in cinemas nationally from 8 September 2016. This review was originally published on 22 October 2015 following its premiere screening at the Adelaide Film Festival.