Written with a poet’s ear and directed with an artist’s eye, “Forgetting the Girl” plumbs the psyche of an unassuming studio photographer, Kevin Wolfe (Christopher Denham). Traumatized by his sister’s drowning when they were kids, he compensates by asking out the women who come to him for head shots. He’s looking for a “real girl,” not the porn stars whose photos his landlord lusts over — the salacious content of which isn’t shown on-screen but, in a masterful touch by director Nate Taylor, revealed by viewers’ reactions to them.
Given that Kevin propositions every woman who crosses his path, one would think that he would have grown used to rejection, but he still takes it hard and focuses on “forgetting” them. Meanwhile, his assistant Jamie (Lindsay Beamish) pines for the attention he lavishes on the ladies in front of his lens. A goth chick with self-esteem issues, Jamie — as well as her ineffectual sponsor Derek (Joel de la Fuente) — defies expectations but also comprehension, the histrionic link in a cast otherwise characterized by nuance.
Denham, for instance, is charmingly awkward as Kevin — rendering the script’s dark twist all the more unsettling. And his paramours Adrienne (Anna Camp) and Beth (Elizabeth Rice) are both refreshingly nice girls, gentle and genuine as they try to let him down easy. Still, “women are objects,” Kevin argues in an image-driven framing device that’s as much about art as it is sexual politics.
“Forgetting the Girl”
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Playing: At Downtown Independent, Los Angeles. Also on VOD.