So I was on Tumblr Tuesday night, just shootin’ the breeze and enjoying the awesome nerdiness of the internet when Amandla Stenberg dropped her newest passion project. Imagine my surprise when I saw that there was a little link to a short film. Then imagine my surprise when I found out Stenberg wrote, produced, directed, AND edited the film. Well of course with my knowledge of young Stenberg as an artist and visionary (seriously, she’s so young and I can already see a lifetime of achievement coming from her) I decided to review the film, and thank god I did.
Amandla Stenberg’s newest short film is titled Blue Girls Burn Fast (which btw, interesting title. The English Major in me almost wants to analyze it so badly) and it’s about a girl named Andrea, or Andy. Andy is a foster child who’s tired of bouncing around in different homes. Andy dreams of having one home, specifically her childhood home, to call her own, but is pulled between that and the foster care system. In addition, she’s pulled between her interests in her “friend” Aidan and her other “friend” Lea. And all that is only in 20 mins! This is Amandla Stenberg’s…
Where to Watch:
The Review (Spoilers Ahead):
The quick version: This is a good watch. The film is short at just 20 mins, but I enjoyed basically every moment of it. There’s really nothing for me to hate here. While yes, it’s not good that Andy tried to run away at the beginning it’s a scene the serves the character and lets us know the situation quickly. Also, I kind of love that intro. It, the soundtrack (which will be downloaded), and the general tone of the film is so angsty and punk rock. It feeds my inner goody-two-shoes soul that just wants to be a rebel. Working with that, the film even has a Perks of Being a Wallflower, “We are infinite” vibe about it (which btw, is film I should review at some point).
Again I have to say that Amandla Stenberg is an artist and a visionary leader in waiting who is a force to be reckoned. While yes, that was over-exaggerated, I really do think she has talent and promise. This film is a damn good watch for something created almost entirely by her.
The writing is real and interesting (that scene of Andy and Lea roaming and talking about life was so true. I’ve had those moments in high school where I’d go out at night on long walks with friends and we’d just talk about the world. That scene seemed very true to real teenage life). The film work is also inspired, now it may not be Oscar worthy, but I truly believe that Amandla Stenberg is going places. In fact, the only thing that’s just OK is the acting, but certainly that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
As f0r the LGBT/Queer aspect of the story, it’s also kind of great. First off, Andy’s life isn’t concerned with just her romantic relationships, but when those do take a primary in her life boy do theytake over. Andy meets Aidan and likes him, but she’s also drawn toward Lea. This conflict is interesting and well presented. Also, Andy never opening says that she is bisexual, the viewer just watches and finds out. (Sidenote: I wasn’t even sure when I was watching if there was a Queer angle, so I applauded when Andy and Lea kissed.)
Now to finish off (because I can’t help it) I have to analyze some of the film . No, I won’t turn this into a whole term paper. I just want to talk about the use of the color blue for a little bit. Now, when I heard the title Blue Girls Burn Fast my mind instantly went to the novel Am I Blue? (another property I should review). The Novel is about a boy who’s questioning his sexuality and is given the gift of seeing queer people as blue for a day. While that would be a cool reference for Amandla Stenberg to make I don’t think that’s it (had to give the book a shout-out though).
In western culture the color blue comes with the idea of sorrow and calm. If we look at it from that perspective it could be that Blue Girls is referencing girls who are sad. Certainly Andy is sad and confused about her life as a foster student. If we wanted to stretch it a bit we could even say that the calm part goes to Lea who has more of a calm and relaxed personality.
One other fun thing to note is that on Andy’s wall is the word Cerulean, a type of blue. What is the significance of this? I honestly have no idea or answers for this one. Do any of you?
So in all, I genuinely enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend you guys watch it.
This short film gets 5 stars out of 5.