• by Wes Singleton

White Girl, B

Unrated, 88 minutes

Dirty, gritty and well-acted, the new drama "White Girl" is so named for the lead character's drug of choice, but it quickly becomes a metaphor for how her life is spiraling out of control. Directed and written by Elizabeth Wood in her feature film debut, "White Girl" has been garnering acclaim on the festival circuit, and while the film isn't for everyone - there's considerable, often shocking amounts of graphic drug use and sex - but it's a compelling portrait of the extremes we might go to for love. Leah (Morgan Saylor of TV's "Homeland"), a college student freshman in New York City, falls hard for a drug dealer named Blue (newcomer Brian Marc) and then goes to wild extremes to get him back. At the heart of the dark, bold "White Girl" is its love story, as well as the solid, believable turn from Saylor, who reminds of a cross between a young Rachel McAdams and a young Lindsay Lohan. "White Girl" isn't anything new if you've seen "Precious" or "Dope" or other dark, drug-related films with a young lead, and like those films, Saylor and Wood stir up some captivating moments as she tries to her beau out of jail, with the help of an ambitious attorney (Chris Noth) and her drug-addicted both (Justin Bartha). The mid-act falters a little under some redundancies that show the dark side of NYC drug-dealing and partying, the point is made more than once, but Wood reminds us that Leah's journey is an unusual one, not to mention that life can also separate us by class and socio-economic level. The thought-provoking ending of "White Girl" also shows us that Wood, in an auspicious debut as director writer, has a real future. Worth a look, but know it's not going to be an easy one to look at.

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