What starts off as a simple story about a missing, estranged mother who has seemingly run off on her own turns into something much more complex in White Bird in a Blizzard. It’ll be hard not to ruin the story and give my full reaction, but when spoilers loom, there will be a warning.
Eve Connors (Eva Green) vanishes without a trace one day in 1988 and when she doesn’t come back, her daughter Kat (Shailene Woodley) is relieved to finally be set free from her depressing household. Her mother had displayed a great hate towards Kat’s father (Christopher Meloni) and the cracks in their relationship had been affecting the family dynamic for quite some time.
Please STOP reading right now if you want to avoid any SPOILERS.
Everything seems fine until two years later when Kat begins to question where her mother has gone Kat comes back from her first semester in college to find herself still not over her mother’s disappearance. Kat’s ex-boyfriend Phil seems to have something to hide and the detective that she’s been sleeping with points to Kat’s father as being the murderer. Yet Kat’s father Brock looks to be the opposite of a murderer, with a shy, almost doormat personality.
The real kicker comes at the very end of the movie. About half way you begin to have serious doubts about Brock’s innocence. Turns out Brock did commit a crime, but it isn’t the fashion of the crime that shocks you, it’s the reason.
The plot itself was an interesting one and kept you curious about what really happened to Kat’s mom. However, there are two major critiques. The first is that the transitions were rough. If it wasn’t an awkward fade to black, it was an abrupt cut to black. Most of the time I had trouble deciphering whether a dream sequence was happening or if real life was. Though this may have been a stylistic choice, even the transitions from scene to scene that didn’t involve dream sequences were harsh.
The second major problem was the inclusion of Kat’s friends. Her two best friends from high school felt so out of place with the rest of the film, and in all honesty weren’t needed. Their personalities, which were light, cheerful and joking, seem to fit a teen movie instead of a mysterious thriller. They felt like props instead of characters that enriched the film.
Despite that, the performance by Shailene Woodley is fantastic. She gives it her all, bringing her character to life and that’s what makes this movie worth watching.
White Bird in a Blizzard comes out in the UK March 6.