Sunday, September 18, 2016

TIFF 2016: The Girl With All The Gifts

I thought that The Girl With All The Gifts was based on the novel of the same name by M. R. Carey, but at the screening today I learned that the movie sort of came first. Carey wrote the movie but was unable to get it made, so he turned it into a book. When the book became very successful, he was able to revive the movie project. So it's not surprising that the film is very true to the book (or vice-versa?).

This is a very different take on the zombie genre. As the film begins we see Melanie (Sennia Nanua), a sweet, calm, very bright girl, who is kept in a prison cell, and brought out strapped in a wheelchair under armed guard. We learn that she and a few dozen other kids are infected with the fungus that has caused the usual zombie outbreak, but for some reason they have retained their personalities and intelligence. Well, except when they get a whiff of a nearby uninfected human, so make sure you keep applying that blocker gel!

Glen Close plays Dr Caldwell, who is researching how the fungus infiltrates the brains of its subjects, and she is nearly as eager for brains (for her research, of course!) as "the hungries" are. Gemma Arterton plays the children's teacher, Ms. Justineau, and she and Melanie have a warm relationship that transcends their different assigned teams. When the shit hits the fan (it's a zombie movie, remember?), the healthy humans need to trust Melanie to help them find their way through a world they no longer recognize.

Oh, and in this one, it's the fast zombies.

I really enjoyed this film, as I did the book. Melanie is a lovable little girl, even as she feeds on someone;'s erstwhile pet, and we care about her and at least one of the healthy humans as they try to find their way through a messy new world.

TIFF 2016 Overview

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