The Movie Waffler New to Shudder - BLUE MY MIND | The Movie Waffler

New to Shudder - BLUE MY MIND

blue my mind review
A teenage girl's body begins to change in disturbing ways.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Lisa Brühlmann

Starring: Luna Wedler, Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen, Regula Grauwiller, Georg Scharegg

blue my mind poster

Life can be tough when you're a teenager. Your body starts going through physical changes that you're too embarrassed to discuss with anyone else. If those changes include your toes becoming webbed, scales growing on your legs and gills appearing on your abdomen, it's all the more frightening. That's the scenario faced by Mia (Luna Wedler), the 15-year-old heroine of writer/director Lisa Brühlmann's feature debut, Blue My Mind.

This Swiss fantasy's initial setup owes much to Mean Girls, with Mia moving to a new school and falling in with the three most popular girls in her class, led by the tough talking Gianna (Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen). These girls make The Plastics seem like nuns by comparison, as they draw the innocent Mia into their world of shoplifting, drugs and hooking up with older men in hotel rooms.

blue my mind review

You get the impression that Mia has struggled to fit in everywhere she's been, but just when she seems to have found acceptance, her body begins to change. Along with the physical metamorphosis, she develops an overwhelming hunger for fish, chomping on her mother's beloved goldfish like a bear snacking by a stream. Refusing to broach her transformation with anyone, Mia attempts to self-operate, leading to her body boasting an increasingly large array of sloppy bandaging.

Like Julia Ducournau's Raw and Joachim Trier's Thelma, Blue My Mind is another entry in the growing sub-genre of European dramas that employ fantasy-horror elements as an allegory for a young girl's self-discovery as she enters womanhood. Brühlmann's film doesn't have the visual allure or psychological depth of either of those aforementioned films, but it does boast a central performance from Wedler that's arguably superior in its subtlety to those of Garance Marillier and Eili Harboe.

blue my mind review

While the narrative feels like it's simply following a rote checklist of body-horror/coming of age tropes, it's Wedler's empathetic turn that keeps us engrossed. You would need a heart of stone not to feel for her plight, and watching her make a series of bad decisions, as most of us do at that age, will bring out your parental instincts. If you have a teenage daughter of your own you may be compelled to sit her down and ask "Is everything okay?"

Oddly, Mia's own parents don't seem to possess much in the way of paternal or maternal instinct. It's painfully clear that their child is going through some very strange experiences, and I found it difficult to believe their apathy, the one element of Brühlmann's film that feels manufactured and false. Mia begins to suspect that she may be adopted (her ginger, frecklish features certainly don't match her dark parents), but the movie never gives us answers to this question, which would be fine if it was at least addressed, even with ambiguity.

blue my mind review

Blue My Mind will likely play best to a female audience in the age group of its protagonist, or to those who can still recall treading the teenage tightrope. It displays an honest understanding of the contradictory nature of teen life, caught between wanting to grow up (Mia and her friends throw themselves into sexual encounters with a false bravado) and remain childlike (when asked to vote on the destination for a school trip, the girls plump for a kids' theme park rather than any museums). In its director and star, it announces two more European female talents to keep a close eye on in the coming years.

Blue My Mind is on Shudder UK now.