Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Elizabeth Wood|
|Produced by||Gabriel Nussbaum|
|Written by||Elizabeth Wood|
|Edited by||Michael Taylor|
White Girl is a 2016 American film written and directed by Elizabeth Wood in her directorial debut. It stars Morgan Saylor, Brian Marc, India Menuez, Adrian Martinez, Anthony Ramos, Ralph Rodriguez, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Chris Noth and Justin Bartha.
Leah (Morgan Saylor), a young university student, moves in with her best friend Katie (India Menuez) into an apartment in Ridgewood, Queens. One night, after they run out of pot she approaches a group of young Latino men on her corner asking them to sell her drugs. They refuse. Later she invites one of the men, Blue (Brian Marc), into her apartment, who explains that while he's a coke dealer he refuses to do hard drugs. Blue and Leah end up having sex on her rooftop.
After seeing the drugs that Blue deals, Leah tells him he could easily be making $60 compared to the $20 he's been selling them for. She invites him to a party thrown by the magazine she's interning for and Blue is indeed able to mark up his prices to the mostly white crowd.
Emboldened by his success Blue visits his supplier Lloyd (Adrian Martinez) and asks him to give him a kilo of cocaine. Lloyd agrees and Blue and Leah go to a restaurant for breakfast. While there he is approached by one of his regulars and goes outside to sell to him. He is immediately arrested by an undercover cop as it turns out he's been set up. Leah picks up the kilo and quietly leaves with it.
Leah goes to visit Blue in jail where he tells her that due to his priors he will be getting 20 years in jail. Leah decides to help him, telling him that she has the coke, so the police have no evidence. He tells her to return the kilo to Lloyd and explain the situation. Instead, she finds a good-natured lawyer named George (Chris Noth), intending to deal the coke to pay his fee. He's optimistic that they have a very good case.
Approaching her boss, Kelly (Justin Bartha), Leah manages to sell a third of the kilo. She also enlists Katie and Blue's friends to help move the rest of the coke, while at the same time telling Blue that George is representing him pro bono. As her debts to George pile up and Lloyd finds her and threatens her to make her come up with the rest of the money she approaches Kelly for a seventeen thousand dollar loan to cover all the costs. He instead helps her throw a rave with a cover charge in order to get it all. The party is a success but Leah takes too many drugs and wakes up alone with all the money gone.
Leah promises George that she will get him the rest of the money but he tells her to forget about it. He takes her to dinner where he explains that the legal system is unequal and white men who commit violent crimes are more likely to get off for their crimes than non-violent offenders like Blue. The two end up going to Leah's place where Leah soon passes out, intoxicated. George’s true character is revealed as he uses the opportunity to sexually assault her.
After the rape Leah becomes silent and withdrawn, taking to her bed. She is surprised one day by Blue who arrives in her apartment and crawls into bed with her. He reveals that the lawyer managed to free him and credits Leah with saving his life. Getting on one knee he proposes to her, to which she doesn't give a clear answer.
Walking down the street together Leah and Blue are surprised when Lloyd attacks them both, wanting his money. Blue first hits him over the head with a broken bottle then beats him to death with a wrench. As Leah looks on, Blue silently realizes that she provoked the attack by not returning the coke.
Blue is arrested, watching Leah coldly as he's driven away. Leah is last seen in a classroom, just before the credits.
- Morgan Saylor as Leah
- Brian Marc as Blue
- Justin Bartha as Kelly
- Chris Noth as George
- India Menuez as Katie
- Adrian Martinez as Lloyd
- Anthony Ramos as Kilo
- Ralph Rodriguez as Nene
- Annabelle Dexter-Jones as Alexa
- Jemel Howard as Darnell
In February 2015, it was revealed that Elizabeth Wood had directed a film from a screenplay she wrote, with Morgan Saylor and India Menuez starring in the film. Gabriel Nussbaum produced the film, while Christine Vachon, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman produced the film under their Killer Films and Supermarche banners respectively. Wood began writing the feature before attending Columbia University's screenwriting MFA program. She loosely based the film on her own life.
The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016. Shortly after, Netflix acquired worldwide video on demand distribution rights to the film. In April 2016, FilmRise acquired theatrical distribution rights to the film with a planned late summer-fall 2016 release. The film was released on September 2, 2016. It was released on Netflix on December 2, 2016.
White Girl received positive reviews from film critics. It holds a 70% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 65 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Peter Dubruge of Variety gave the film a negative review writing: "As much as White Girl has to offer in raw immediacy, it lacks the distance to offer much in the way of meaningful commentary." The Hollywood Reporter called it "squalid, shocking and sexy as hell," while Vice called the film "the most explosive portrait of NYC youth since Kids."
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- "White Girl". Metacritic. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- Dubruge, Peter (January 24, 2016). "Sundance Film Review: 'White Girl'". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- Felperin, Leslie. "'White Girl': Sundance Review". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Manning, Emily (March 11, 2016). "'white girl' is the most explosive portrait of nyc youth since 'kids'". Vice. Retrieved April 11, 2016.