The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Based on The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot depicts a dystopian future following a breakdown of society after most of humanity is wiped out by a fungal infection and focuses upon the struggle of a scientist, a teacher and two soldiers who embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.
First of all, I’ll point out that we’re dealing with a lot of my favorite things when it comes to this movie: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, an infection that turns people zombie-like… So this movie is totally my type of thing but I have to say that I thought it was really good & quite an original take on a genre I never would have expected to become as mainstream as it has nowadays. I liked zombie movies before they were cool, dammit. 😉 lol
This is from the book of the same name by M.R. Carey & it’s a rare occasion that I haven’t read a novel in this genre before seeing the movie. I really want to read it now (but I hate doing it that way around). Has anyone here read it? It’s had very good reviews. But I have to say that it was nice to watch a movie like this where for once I didn’t know much about it beforehand & had no idea what would happen. So that probably helped but I really did enjoy everything about this film. I liked the story, I really liked the ending (I often complain about horror movie endings), and I thought it had a great overall atmosphere & very interesting score.
The characters are also really good in this, which is always extremely important to me. I’d have liked a little more character development & to know more about their pasts (maybe there’s more in the book?) but the movie still did well with them for its running time & I cared about what would happen to everyone. That’s more than can be said for most modern horror films (like Don’t Breathe, which I’ll review next week – hateful characters in that!).
Glenn Close plays a scientist trying to create a cure for the infection & Paddy Considine plays a soldier. They’re both good & have big roles in this story but the main characters are Gemma Arterton as a teacher & fantastic newcomer Sennia Nanua as her favorite student, Melanie. These two have a great mother/daughter type of relationship that kind of made me think of Ellen Ripley & Newt in Aliens. Being the mother of a daughter, I always enjoy that maternal instinct thing in movies (especially cool movies with aliens & zombies since I’m not a girly girl). Arterton did a very good job but Sennia Nanua was amazing. I immediately looked her up & she’s been in nothing else other than a short film (a ska film set in 1980 – I want to see it!). She’s certainly an actress to watch. What’s with young people being so damn good in movies nowadays? Between her & Jacob Temblay in Room, this has been quite a year for amazing performances from young people (btw – Room was this year in the UK before anyone corrects me).
I don’t want to get too detailed on the plot as, from what I can tell, this movie doesn’t yet have an American release date? That’s a shame – I do recommend it if it makes its way overseas (it’s an English film). If you liked 28 Days Later, this is worth a watch as it has a similar mood & vibe plus, of course, a deserted London thanks to a contagious infection that turns people zombie-like.
I think this is a good one to watch without knowing too much but I promise that it’s not “just another unoriginal zombie movie”. As there are so many now, it’s hard to bring something new to the table but I think this movie does manage to give us something a bit unexpected. It’s a serious film – almost more thriller than horror & more about the relationships between the characters & moral implications involving Glenn Close’s work as a scientist. So, yeah, it has people who want to feed on brains but it’s not a braindead film. I like a movie that makes you think & it’s a good one for discussion afterwards. I’m really glad I saw The Girl With All The Gifts – I hope it gets a wider release & that more people give it a chance. And Sennia Nanua is definitely one to watch.
My Rating: 8/10
**Here’s the trailer if you do want to know a bit more than what I’ve told you. I did see this trailer beforehand & it didn’t ruin anything for me.