‘Girl Picture’ Review: Teens on Thin Ice

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“Girl Picture,” directed by Alli Haapasalo, is a giddy, high-strung comedy about three Finnish high schoolers anxious to capitalize on that sliver of teenagedom when life is all possibilities — a period that races by so fast that the film, written by Ilona Ahti and Daniela Hakulinen, is able to cram a smorgasbord of joy and humiliation into just three weekends.

Every Friday, the best friends Ronkko (Eleonoora Kauhanen) and Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) finish their job at a smoothie shop and set out to sample a tasting menu of experiences; from true love to emotionless hookups. They’re in a rush to decide who they are — or aren’t. Ronkko, a curly-headed flirt, is anxious that sex has been, so far, disappointing. Mimmi, a sensitive punk with a sharp tongue, is doubtful she has the maturity to woo an ice skater named Emma (Linnea Leino) who comes with — yuck! — grown-up-size responsibilities, like perfecting her triple Lutz so not to blow her chance at the European Championships. Leino’s physical carriage — from her convincing athleticism to the way the actress plays her fretful wallflower with her eyebrows knitted together like a pair of mittens — captures her character’s determination. When her mother (Cécile Orblin) presses Emma to attend a party, she groans, “Fine, but I’ll be home by 10.”

The characters are all much harder on themselves than is the film itself, which grants them a judgment-free sanctuary (even as they make mistakes that may have the audience yelping like at a horror flick). Instead, Haapasalo blesses her trio with a pop soundtrack that crescendos at the peak of a kiss, and climactic crises that are a mite too readily resolved, adamantly gracing this awkward stage of girlhood with forgiveness — not hectoring lessons.

Girl Picture
Not rated. In Finnish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. In theaters.

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