By Don Simpson | April 23, 2012
Director: David Riker
Writer: David Riker
Starring: Abbie Cornish, Will Patton, Luci Christian, Giovanna Zacarías, Raúl Castillo, Lauren Galley, Katelyn Merricks, Santiago Maritza, Austin West
Ashley (Abbie Cornish) is a working class Texas woman struggling to make ends meet. She was deemed an unfit mother sometime in the past and her son Georgie (Austin West) was moved into a foster home, leaving Ashley in her dilapidated trailer home all alone. Ashley perceives her current situation as class and cultural bias. She believes that the state is trying to lure Georgie away from her by promising him the capitalist dream — a big fancy house with a swing set in the yard. Ashley also suspects that the CPS representative — who spontaneously visits Ashley to observe whether or not her home environment has become more child-friendly — is trying to set her up for failure. In other words, Ashley prefers to blame everyone else instead of accepting the blame herself.
On one fateful day, Ashley’s father Tommy (Will Patton) convinces Ashley to visit his home across the border in Mexico and party with him. It seems Tommy has stumbled into a bit of “good luck” recently. Seeing no other way out of her current predicament, Ashley decides that she needs a bit of “good luck” as well. Next thing she knows, she holds the lives of several Mexicans in her hands. Naiveté gets the best of Ashley, and she finds herself stuck watching over a young girl, Rosa (Santiago Maritza).
David Riker’s The Girl skillfully discusses the dark side of United States immigration policies and the role that immigration plays in the greater scheme of the U.S. economy. At a time when certain segments of our government are threatening to make the U.S. immigration policies even more stringent, The Girl reveals that the current state of immigration is already bad enough. Innocent people are dying every day — but Mexicans are willing to continue to risk their lives for the American dream. Of course the lucky ones who do make it across the border into the U.S. quickly realize that life is not as easy and perfect as the media and entertainment industries would lead them to believe. It is certainly not without irony that the most idyllic location in The Girl is a small Oaxacan village in the middle of nowhere, as if to communicate to Mexicans that things might actually be better on their side of the border.
My only gripe with The Girl is the casting of Abbie Cornish as a Texan. While Cornish’s acting talents are undeniable, her Texan accent is like fingernails across a blackboard to my ears.