I hate when a good movie about teens is rated in a way, in this case rated R, that teens can’t really see it. Maybe that’s to encourage parents to see these features with there kids. In the case of Dirty Girl I think that may be a good idea. If nothing else it could start a dialogue about fitting in, masking pain with reckless behavior, and that the best path for your child may not be the one you want it to be.
Danielle (Juno Temple) is the high school “dirty girl”. She believes sex is power and that sleeping around makes her powerful and in control. And she doesn’t care who knows it. After getting in trouble for being disruptive in sex education class, the principal punishes her by putting her in the “Challenge” class. Challenge class seems to be a home for all the kids who don’t fit in for one reason or another. Challenge class is starting a parenthood project where they are partnered and given a sack of flour to take care of. Danielle is partnered with Clarke (Jeremy Dozier), a shy overweight gay boy. She, of course, hates him. She pretty much hates everyone. Clarke tries to put the moves on her because his parents are threatening military school if the therapy doesn’t work to make him straight. His attempt to bed her fails, but they eventually become friends and she convinces him to go on a road trip. One to find her father she has never met.
This is not only one of the better road trip movies I’ve seen but also one of the better teen movies. One of the reasons I think is because the parents are not just cutouts but actually full characters in the movie. It’s not just about how Danielle and Clarke change but their parents, particularly their mothers, change as they travel to find them. This may be labeled a comedy but there is a lot of serious dialogue and some frank sexuality for teen movie. And almost forgot if you like 80’s music this movie is worth it just for the soundtrack, which is integrated very well into the story. The ends a bit cliched and cheesy but it’s also darn touching as is many moments in this hidden gem of a film.