From Down Under comes one of the pure sleeper films of the year. This would be Aussie director Rosemary Myers’ award-winning film adaptation of the Matthew Whittet’s stage play, Girl Asleep, which will be making its domestic home entertainment debut on Feb. 7 courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings.
The film arrives with an ARR of 137 days and the limited art house run generated ticket sales of $60,289.
This is a one-of-a-kind film adventure. Girl Asleep is a rare gem and trying to categorize it terms of other films in order to give it context is damn difficult. In terms of Aussie films, it is like combining the near surreal world of Muriel Heslop’s family life in Muriel’s Wedding (ah, the lovely town of Porpoise Spit) with John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles and then tossing in a dash of Alice in Wonderland. And even that mish-mash comes up short.
It’s Adelaide, Australia, the 1970s and Greta (Bethany Whitmore — as the young Jaden in the mini-series, Starter Wife) is about to turn 15 and has just started high school as the film opens. The students wear garish uniforms — sort of a unisex look of burgundy red shorts and bright yellow short-sleeve shirts. That could be your first tip that you are entering more than just a different world.
Within minutes of her arrival she is befriended by the awkward and frizzy-haired Elliott (Harrison Feldman) and accosted by the Aussie version of “mean girls” — the bully Jade (Maiah Stewardson) and her twin enforcers, Saph and Amber (played by twins Fiona and Grace Dawson).
At home it’s the “Addams Family,” with dad (played by none other than the play’s author Matthew Whittet), mom, sister and her sister’s boyfriend being more than just a bit odd. Indeed, it’s like a celebration of eccentric behavior, which more than naturally leads to “let’s throw Greta a birthday party … and invite all the strange kids from her new school.”
It’s a “Rocky Horror” birthday party like none other, with chorus lines and singing and at some point Greta just wanders off to her room and enters an alternate world of reality!
Girl Asleep is chock full of visual metaphors and child-to-adult symbolisms (leaving the innocence of childhood behind, etc.) and certainly the third act is over-the-top Felliniesque in its telling, which is carried off perfectly by both the cast, especially the wide-eyed Greta, and filmmakers Rosemary Myers and Matthew Whittet. Girl Asleep is a MUST for the New Year!!!
Bonus goodies include the featurette “Behind the Scenes of Girl Asleep,” a video session with director Rosemary Myers titled “Making Teenage Drama” and a short film titled Pickle (directed by Amy Nicholson and was included as the opening companion during the domestic theatrical run of Girl Asleep).