I read a few things about this before putting it on and feared a kind of similar experience to The Cheerleaders re: whether I would even end up reviewing it or not, lol. Let’s not delay the obvious here: this is one genuinely filthy movie. How it’s filthy, however – that really needs to be elaborated on. I found a fantastic line from a review on the movie’s Wikipedia page that actually applies to a lot of the things I happen to find, as they say, visually stimulating … Brian Price is quoted as saying, “[it …] does not offer visual pleasure, at least not one that comes without intellectual engagement, and more importantly, rigorous self-examination.”
So, you might ask, what does that mean? Well, it means that though this movie shows, as the title suggests, a real young girl and all that entails – it also shows you a real young girl and all that that entails. The girl in question is played by Charlotte Alexandra, who infuriatingly it is hard to find much info about online other than that she was born in the “late fifties”. For the most part she looks far older than the fourteen years of her character, in voiceover even declaring herself “well developed for my age”; but there are times that the lighting and camera angles conspire to make her look actually much younger. And boy does she like to “do things”. But if you’re coming to this movie purely for titillation, be aware that you’ll also see her do other things – like throwing up on herself, having pieces of an earthworm scattered around her “area”, plucking a chicken and feeding its entrails to its family, and other less visually exciting activities.
The overall effect of these 90 minutes is mixed. At times I found it overwhelmingly sad. The story here is really of this teenager way back when, bored to distraction with only her parents for company in the summer holidays on the French countryside. There are long stretches of uncomfortable silences that truly capture that feeling of being stagnant in the family home. At times it’s hypnotic, so raw is the reality of the title that it captures – one can barely believe someone took the time to put such things on film, but it feels right somehow that they did. Then there are times it’s uncomfortable, embarrassing. One thing’s for sure, though, and that’s that it’s never entirely exploitative despite all the things that it shows. It’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a curious one as worth seeing as it was worth making and, finally, releasing. The acting’s not too bad, the slightly muffled photography sort of apt, and that song is far too catchy.