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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Carrie Pilby movie review: how to be an intellectual romantic

Carrie Pilby green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
A fairly familiar romantic dramedy distinguishes itself because its awkward, immature nerd is a young woman, poignantly portrayed by the wonderful Bel Powley.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): desperate for movies about women; love Bel Powley
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s a fairly familiar romantic dramedy, full of the comfortable clichés of the subgenre that’s all about an awkward, immature nerd figuring out how to go about grownup business like romance, sex, and not being a totally judgmental fool. But Carrie Philby distinguishes itself because its awkward, immature nerd is a young woman; it shouldn’t be so rare to see a woman convincingly portrayed as a person who is a poignant work-in-progress,tweet one worth others taking a chance on, but this where we are. It helps, too, that the wonderful Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) plays Carrie, and beautifully captures both the painful rawness of Carrie’s youthtweet but also the steeliness of her convictions that will, we can see, serve her well into adulthood. A Harvard grad at 18, the child prodigy is, at 19, having a rough time trying to scrape together a life for herself in New York City. Her dad (Gabriel Byrne: The 33) is exasperated with her. Her therapist (Nathan Lane [Mirror Mirror], toned down but even more delightful than usual) is trying to help her expand her horizons, like making by getting out of her apartment once in a while, maybe try a date or two, which she does, with mixed results. Dating-ad prospect Matt (Jason Ritter: The Intervention) is, er, way more complicated than she was anticipating, but perhaps her didgeridoo-playing neighbor Cy (William Moseley: Margarita with a Straw) is a prospect? It kinda annoys me that a gal as supersmart as Carrie would do that stupid girl thing of going out without a coat and thereby prompting a man who dressed for the weather to give her his. But I gotta love a movie in which someone can say in all seriousness, “Borrowing a book and not returning it is the height of rudeness.”


Click here for my ranking of this and 2017’s other releases.



green light 3.5 stars

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Carrie Pilby (2017) | directed by Susan Johnson
US/Can release: Mar 31 2017
UK/Ire release: direct to VOD

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 12 (infrequent strong language, moderate sex references)

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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  • Oracle Mun

    “Borrowing a book and not returning it is the height of rudeness.”

    Okay, you sold me on seeing this.

  • ketac6

    That sounds pretty reasonable but did they have to give her all the badges of kookiness – vintage camera, see-through umbrella, goldfish in a bag? Not to mention the hat.

  • dionwr

    You had me at the words, “Intellectual romantic.”

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