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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 11.07.18] Switzerland drama fantasy

Coming of age stories have taken on some interesting supernatural themes. In the last few years alone we've seen movies about a vagina with teeth in Teeth, a young woman who turns out to be more than human in Wildling and the classic Ginger Snaps, and perhaps the most memorable of the bunch, a cannibal teen in Raw. One of the most recent additions to the subgenre is Lisa Bruhlmann's Blue My Mind.

Luna Wedler is Mia, the new girl in town. Her father has moved the family for work and Mia finds herself trying to make friends at a new school partway through the school year. Facing an uphill battle, she starts to push boundaries in an effort to make friends and her efforts quickly pay off; skipping class, shoplifting and lying to her parents opens the door to one of the cliques.

As she starts to fit in, Mia's body also begins to work against her and as the changes progress, she tries first to fight them, before eventually giving into them and then giving up, falling into a pit of drug and alcohol abuse that eds with her to making some questionable choices and leads to particularly unsavoury situation.

Bruhlmann has a lot to say about teenage girls and the struggle to fit in and for the most part, Blue My Mind is focused on that: one girl's attempt to find her place at a new school. What makes her debut feature film stand out is Bruhlmann's physical manifestation of those anxieties and the subtle way Mia's body works against her at every turn.

Blue My Mind is assured storytelling. The movie dives deep into the hardships of teenage life and the difficulties of navigating an ever-changing political landscape. Her observation of teen hierarchies and the interactions between Mia and the others has a raw immediacy. Bruhlmann also doesn't shy away from difficult visuals, doubling down on the genre aspects of the story with a couple of scenes that I found particularly difficult to watch.

Actress Luna Wedler is right there in the middle of it all, fearlessly oscillating from emotional depths to physically challenging moments; Bruhlmann asks a lot from Wedler and the young actress delivers.

As interesting as the fantastical elements of Blue My Mind are, the final act doesn't fully work. Mia's transformation is foreshadowed from early on but Bruhlmann offers no answers or explanations as to why it's happening and though Mia's acceptance feels earned, she hits rock bottom before things start looking up, all of the unanswered questions culminate to an unsatisfying finale.

Blue My Mind is now playing in limited theatrical release and will be available on VOD on Tuesday, November 13.

Recommended Release: Raw

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