There are some cliches that are accepted when describing movies. “Genre bending” and “roller coaster ride” are just two of the film descriptors that are heard often. It does not matter if they actually apply to the movie in question or even if they mean anything. It just looks good on a poster. Every once in a while, the cliches work, however.
Horse Girl is a genre bending roller coaster ride that is the first great movie of the year. Starring Alison Brie, the plot centers on a woman named Sarah who loves a horse and her supernatural television show. Once the socially awkward retail clerk begins looking into her past, she discovers there are some things that are better left alone.
The movie is almost frustratingly vague in its description. Why does Sarah care for a horse so much and what does the supernatural television show have to do with anything? Stories about people looking into their past are not uncommon, but how is Horse Girl any different? A person could not be faulted for passing on the movie after reading its synopsis.
That is the genius in Horse Girl. From the description to the title, there is no way of knowing what the film is going to be about. This allows the audience to become fully engaged by Sarah. It is important to learn who she is and why she does things.
The writing does an excellent job of making Sarah an interesting character. It is clear she is not the life of any party, but she is also a caring person. Whether that compassion is for her co workers or for a corny television show, Sarah has strong feelings. She is a likable character that people watching will immediately want to know more about.
Brie is great as the titular character. Initially, it falls completely on her to make the movie worth watching. Her comic timing is magnificent and is not limited to just one brand of humor. From physical comedy to subtle comments, Sarah is constantly doing something to make the audience laugh.
The GLOW star also shows off her impressive range as her character is not just a comedic foil. Sarah has a wide range of emotions that can be difficult to keep up with. At times, it is over exaggerated, but that is the nature of the story. In the hands of another actor, the role may have been annoying.
This is where Horse Girl truly shines. The plot delves into a number of different themes. Identity, depression, paranoia, friendship, and love are all dealt with. The story never lingers too long on one subject and is instead an amalgamation of all of them. It sounds like it would be a confusing mess, but it is a well told story that never lets the audience down.
Netflix has done a great job of delivering some great original movies. Horse Girl is a fine addition to the impressive catalog. Alison Brie is magnificent in a role that requires a wide range of emotions. The story goes in a variety of directions without ever feeling disjointed. Horse Girl is willing to take a lot of risks and all of them pay off.
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