Mei Makino’s directorial debut is a splendid coming-of-age story that tackles the ups and downs of youth.
The coming of age theme is definitely one of my favorites especially when they can do something different with it. There is something truly special about watching someone’s journey as they make a monumental change. We have seen some beautiful examples of coming-of-age films like Lady Bird, Boyhood, and a personal favorite, Real Women Have Curves. When I was approached to review this film, I was really interested in checking this out. Let’s say that Inbetween Girl was a pleasant surprise.
Inbetween Girl premiered at last year’s South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. The film is the directorial debut of Mei Makino. The film stars Emma Galbraith, William Magnuson, Emily Garrett, Liz Waters, KaiChow Lau, Thanh Bui, Shanshan Jin, and Kelsey Buckley. The film won the Visons’ Audience Award. The film is now preparing for a VOD release by distributor Utopia.
In the film, we follow the journey of Angie (Emma Galbraith), a biracial Asian American living in Galveston, TX maneuvering the rough tides of adolescence. Angie is into film photography and attends soccer practice. She has a friend named Rebecca (Kelsey Buckley), who makes attending her catholic school easier. Then there is Liam (William Magnuson), he is the school dreamboat who is dating a young influencer at their school, Sheryl White (Emily Garrett). Liam ends up giving rides to Angie back home, but soon after they begin to have a secret affair. Angie begins a rocky love affair and embarks on a journey of self-discovery while maneuvering the effects of the divorce of her parents.
I found myself having a pleasant experience with Inbetween Girl. The film’s story grabs the viewer’s attention and allows us to care about Angie’s life. Yes, the overall love affair is pretty trivial and something that happens to pretty much any young person growing up. Mei Makino constructs a solid debut to her promising career as a storyteller. The visual language is not the most extravagant, but the locations allow for an interesting frame. The film meanders a bit in the first half but makes it up with its compelling story. The cast works well off each other, and their chemistry shines brightly throughout the runtime. Mei Makino balances well the themes of Inbetween Girl. Enough time is given to flesh out how Angie feels about her parents’ sudden divorce and her affair with Liam. When it’s time to conclude, Makino does a beautiful job of creating the necessary tender moments of the film’s resolution. I am on board with what Mei Makino brings to the screen next.
Watch Inbetween Girl when it hits VOD services on May 3rd.