From the current issue of Clash.
She Monkeys earned a FIPRESCI award at last year’s Gothenburg film festival – an award granted to outstanding titles at major festivals around the world, with other recent winners including Shame, Take Shelter and The White Ribbon. That’s fine company to be keeping, but it doesn’t make many allowances for commerciality; this story of an intense relationship between two teenage girls is quietly fascinating, but the setting (the world of equestrianism) and the impenetrable title doesn’t allow for an easy sale.
Usa Aschan’s film intelligently weaves together themes of control, emerging individuality and sexual awakening with controlled exposition and sensitivity. Closer to Waterlilies than Heavenly Creatures (events rarely get too disorderly, even when alcohol and a gun are thrown into the mix), the relationship is depicted with a calm, almost detached sense of observation which gives the film a lovely sense of pacing. Simultaneously, however, it also sells these raw, nascent emotions short – this snapshot of a moment in time will have felt far more significant to its core characters than it does to the audience. While possessing a cerebral sense of class, She Monkeys also suggests that director Usa Aschan’s brilliance will be more fully developed a film or two into the future.