This Girl's Life (March 5/05)
This Girl's Life marks the latest effort from fringe filmmaker Ash, best known for the similarly low-budget efforts Bang and Pups. It's clear that the director has a number of fans in the film industry, as This Girl's Life features an impressive roster of actors (including James Woods, Rosario Dawson, and Michael Rapaport) who are clearly not in this for the money. And then there's newcomer Juliette Marquis, an actress with virtually no experience who nevertheless does an amazing job in the film's central role.
This Girl's Life revolves around an internet porn star named Moon (Marquis), a character that also serves as the film's narrator. Her life seems to revolve solely around work and her father (Woods), a man who appears to be in the final stages of Parkinson's Disease. We also meet Moon's porn producer (Tomas Arana), and later, watch as she's set up on a blind date with Kip (Kip Pardue) - an actor who hasn't a clue as to her profession.
The weakest portion of This Girl's Life is the opening half hour, which consists almost entirely of narration from Moon, as she contemplates the meaning of her existence and the necessity of porn in today's society. Though it's intriguing for a while, the narration becomes increasingly pretentious as the film progresses; thankfully, Ash drops it entirely somewhere around the midway point. The remainder of the movie involves Moon as she deals with the day-to-day tribulations of her life, generally involving her tribulations within the porn industry and her various interpersonal relationships.
Of course, none of this would be in the least bit interesting if it wasn't for Marquis brave, eye-opening performance. It's just a shame that so few people have even heard of This Girl's Life, given that it seems fairly obvious that Marquis should've gone onto bigger and better things because of it (her only other credits to date are a terrible Steven Seagal movie and a small Canadian film). The majority of the film's supporting cast isn't on screen long enough to make much of an impression, with the notable exception of James Woods. Though he's never been the sort of performer to lose himself in a role, that's exactly what Woods does here; stepping into the shoes of a serious disabled man, the actor delivers an utterly convincing, heart-wrenching performance that's unlike anything he's done before.
This Girl's Life clearly isn't for everybody - the loose, improvisational style does take a while to get used to - but for those that are willing to stick with it, the film does have its rewards (particularly Marquis and Woods' performances).