The premise of the film is that Sarah, Alison Brie (“The Lego Movie”, “Glow (TV)”), starts to loose track of time and her lucid dreams seep into her waking life, but Horse Girl is a movie that simply tries to be too many things, from the start it’s a portrayal of mental health but then veers into fantasy, sci-fi and possibly even horror.
Sarah is an awkward, arty type who meanders through life with no obvious objective or direction (much like the film itself). She’s kind hearted and totally naive to the point where people treat her with kid gloves, though there maybe other reasons for this – it’s never made clear. She’s the kind of person you should like but actually everything about them is just annoying.
Brie is excellent in the role, she portrays her character’s extreme and disturbed behaviour with uncanny ability without overacting any of it. As the film progresses Sarah becomes more paranoid and more unstable, because the movie is shown from Sarah’s perspective you’re able to see her rational and be with her on this journey which leaves the rest of the characters wary and confused.
Ultimately though it’s a journey to nothing and nowhere and that’s because the story is written in a way that might be politely called ambiguous, though I prefer the term half-arsed.
This much ambiguity in a movie pisses me off, I watch a film to be told a story, to experience the world and characters the writer has invented, to be entertained. It’s only half a job if you have to fill in all the blanks and then make up an ending for yourself. It reminds me of English class in school where you’re given the first paragraph and told to make up the rest of the story. It would be unfair to say Horse Girl is only the first paragraph but I’d definitely argue is far from a finished concept.
The first half of the movie is considerably better than the second half. The writers, of which Brie was one, don’t seem to know quite what to do with the story. There are so many unanswered questions and it’s ultimately unfulfilling.
Why is she Horse Girl, we know she likes horses but why did she stop riding, did she ever ride? Who’s the girl with dark hair on the horse?
How did Sarah end up sharing a house with a girl who wouldn’t look out of place in a beauty contest -birds of a feather and all that. And why would the “aliens” leave claw marks in a random small section of a wall?
Why would the “aliens” bother to abduct someone and then put them back in a completely random place where they’re obviously going to know something funky has happened.
Why does she lead the horse off into woodland at the end and then abandon it?
I bet if we asked the writers they wouldn’t have the answers either. So, if you like a bit of a weird film that plods along, poses questions and never answers them but does at least have some top notch acting then Horse Girl might be worth a watch.