The best pop songs, besides being melodic, intelligently concern the human condition, which is exactly what the pop musical God Help the Girl (2014), by Stuart Murdoch, does, book and all.  That book and those songs were penned by a bloke who proves he is one heck of a talent; moreover, Murdoch (of Belle & Sebastian fame) also directed this vigorous pic.

Eve (Emily Browning), who has been in a mental hospital, longs to make music and hopes to initiate a new life.  She takes up with two new friends, one of whom—James (Olly Alexander)—wishes to love her and solidly aid her in a pop music career.  Both aims prove to be a trifle too challenging.

The story grows thinner than it ought to, but the movie itself is never less than intelligent and musically delightful.  Although the songs were not written specifically for the film, Browning has a lovely voice for them and is a fitting, touching actor for Eve. . . Not at all inappropriate is Giles Nuttgens’s grainy, charily lit cinematography, and the clothes too (by Denise Coombs) are fetching.  With its nice characters, God Help the Girl is utterly harmless, an often cheery paean to pure pop but unsentimental about life.

Stuart Murdoch

Cover of Stuart Murdoch