White Girl, which premiered in January at Sundance, is planned for a cinematic release at the end of this summer.
'White Girl,' which premiered in January at Sundance, is planned for a cinematic release at the end of this summer.

Art

7.15.2016

Take A Peek At 'White Girl,' A Movie That May Be The Heir To 'Kids'

It’s summer movie season, meaning we’re being inundated with blockbusters—and the occasional indie gem. One such film has garnered a rather interesting amount of buzz and critique: Elizabeth Wood’s White Girl. It’s an uneasy tale about a privileged white girl who falls in love with a Latino boy, a local in her new neighborhood (Ridgewood, natch). It’s a graphic, gut-punching story encompassing drugs, being young in New York City, internships (lol), and the havoc and destruction that the privileged can enact on those with less. It’s a real creative commitment.

The film stars Homeland actress Morgan Saylor as Leah, a college student who becomes involved with a group of boys who sell drugs to make money, boys who essentially have no other options (it also features downtown artist/model/it girl India Salvor Menuez as Leah’s roommate). Leah eventually develops a romantic relationship with the group’s leader, Blue (played by Brian Marc). When he gets arrested, Leah decides to take matters into her own hands, selling on the street to pay for a lawyer to bail him out of jail. Her life as a affluent college student does a 360, and she finds herself in the midst of a uncontrollable situation. It’s unflinching, and unlike most films with a pretty white girl at the center, it’s not exactly sympathetic to Leah.

It’s easy to make parallels from White Girl to Harmony Korine’s 1995 classic Kids, a beloved, NYC cult phenomenon. Both are seemingly youth-focused with an eye on larger social themes (Kids unforgettably took on the AIDS crisis). White Girl may sound like just another movie about youthful decisions and young love, but there are bits and pieces within the bigger picture that are undeniably important, and relevant to today’s news cycle: it takes on race, class, gentrification, and the grey scale of privilege. So yes, there is more that meets the eye, and it’s up to us to look beyond what is just on the surface. The film, the rights to which were acquired by Netflix earlier this year, is planned for a cinematic release at the end of the summer.

I’m all in.

Stay tuned to Milk for more summer movies.

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