Australia, the seventies. Greta is an outsider at her new school. The only one who falls head over heels for her is her nerdy peer Elliott. When her parents, against her will, throw a party in honour of her 15th birthday, it marks the beginning of a nightmare for Greta in more ways than one. Poignant coming-of-age film, presented as a hilariously styled seventies pastiche.
Girl Asleep hits all the right notes. The art direction and costumes have an authentic seventies vibe, and the makers obviously couldn’t resist going a bit overboard with it. But within that visual satirical framework, the film also tells a universal story about loneliness, budding adolescence and the imagination as a both comforting and dangerous escape. As far as the latter is concerned, the makers go all out with a Wizard of Oz-like sequence in a wonderfully artificial haunted forest. The emotional authenticity of the film is in excellent hands with the two young leading actors, whose growing pains are witty, touching and, above all, relatable.