The Edinburgh Film Festival has kicked off and with it the chance to catch a whole bunch of films you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. First up was Story Of A Girl, the debut feature from Kyra Sedgewick which will air on Lifetime after its festival run. With a cast which includes Sedgewick’s husband, Kevin Bacon, it follows Deanna (Ryann Shane) who three years after a sex tape of her and her big brother’s best friend was leaked on the internet, is still dealing with the consequences.
Story Of A Girl is a film that underneath all the set dressing is about family. Deanna was thirteen when the sex tape leaked, and the repercussions extend beyond that of her school life. The biggest one being the destruction of a once loving relationship with her father (John Tenny) whose anger isn’t helped by having his son (Ian Belcher) living in the basement with his girlfriend (Sosie Bacon) and their young child. It’s a fragile situation as these diverse people try to survive under one roof and figure out their emotions.
In order to escape that, Deanna gets a job at Craven’s Pizza run by the slightly eccentric Michael (Kevin Bacon) who steps into the role of understanding adult who bonds with our troubled teen. It’s a cliché but Bacon pulls it off, and the scenes between him and Deanna are the best in the film. Bacon’s humour brings a lot to a story that occasionally takes itself a bit too seriously as it strives for realism and his protective feelings towards his young employee are genuinely touching.
The problem is that Michael isn’t the only person working there and Tommy, who was actor number two in said sex tape, also picks up a paycheck and is apparently unwilling to repent for what happened. Tyler Johnston is delightfully sleazy in the role and is happy to play up Tommy’s dickheadedness in the early stages of the film. He and Deanna’s sniping at each other balances on the tightrope between funny and unsettling and works well because of it.
The strength of those exchanges does highlight the lack of chemistry at other times. Some of the acting here is slightly wooden, and the script occasionally clunks. It hurts scenes which are going for realism and end up flying wide of the mark as situations escalate at ridiculous speeds and conversations are peppered with weird responses.
However, it’s easy to forgive Story Of A Girl’s flaws because it’s a film with its heart most definitely in the right place. It plays like a slightly more serious version of Edge of Seventeen (a film that Sedgewick appeared in) and when it’s working it’s working well. If you can forgive the occasional blunder you’ll come out of the other end with a few tears in your eyes and a slight smile on your face and in that sense, it does what it sets out to achieve.
Verdict: Hall of Fame