Minor spoilers ahead!
I have been wanting to see Spring Breakers since it premiered at TIFF last September. Honestly, I can’t believe it took me six months to finally watch it. Well, the long wait was well worth it. Holy fuck, I loved this movie. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this movie, and if you’re going to judge me for enjoying it, feel free to skip the rest of this post.
Even before I knew what this movie was about, I knew the make-up of its cast would set the precedent that some would absolutely love the film, and others…would absolutely hate it. It didn’t matter to me, though. Ashley, Selena, Baby V… I loved those girls from the start. To know that they had taken the plunge into such a risky film? Well, it made me love them even more. They nailed it. Ashley said in an interview that even though they were from Disney backgrounds, they didn’t want to be tied to that forever. I think they made the right decision.
There were so many things about this movie that made me love it. I really fell in love with Harmony Korine’s style. The smash of clips that weren’t always telling a perfect linear story kept me guessing how much time had actually elapsed, and totally reflected the hazy, druggy party life the girls took part in, even before their trip. Could they even keep track of what was going on? I also loved how rough and gritty and dirty everything was, from screaming obscenities in the parking lot scene, to Alien’s cornrows and grills, to beer and cocaine and weed smeared against the tables and bodies and floors. This extends to Cotty’s shower scene when she’s sobbing against the walls, naked and broken, and even when Alien tells Faith how much he likes her and how she should stay. The close-up was so powerful, like you could feel his hot breath coasting across your own cheeks, and the tremble of your own lips as you tried not to cry, not to be scared, to be hard like the girls promised to be. We also can’t forget the gratuitous naked scenes. Yes, they were gratuitous, but they perpetuated the bare-all, liberal foundation of the movie. The film succeeded in being daring, whether or not there was a true intent of underlying satire, and I think they welcomed with opened arms the realization that a lot of people would hate it all, unable to ever see themselves in that situation, condemning the behaviour, never understanding.
Aside from the glorious shots of the girls blowing smoke into each others mouths, drowning themselves in funnel beer, and firing guns into the night sky, there were the other beautiful shots of the four girls, having the time of their lives, being friends who understood that there was more out there in the world for them to discover. Sure, the trip was more than any of them had bargained for, and, no, the robbery and the murderous ending weren’t really realistic, but underneath all of that I want to believe people can see that at least part of this movie was about four girls who knew they were just waiting for life to start. We all know how that feels, don’t we? I sure do. Also, truly, how fucking hilarious were some of the scenes? Amanda and I were absolutely dying when Alien began playing the first few notes of “Everytime” by Britney Spears. James Franco had some of the most ridiculous, hilarious quotes I’ve ever heard in a movie. I was blessed to be in a theatre full of people who laughed along with everyone else. It made the movie even more enjoyable.
I know a few people who can’t believe that I could love the movie as much as I do. Several of my closest friends hated this movie. And yet… every part of me wanted to be in the movie, dancing and drinking and losing myself with the other girls. Amanda said that if she was like any girl in the movie, it would have been Faith. I can see myself in Faith, too, but I can also see a little of myself in the other girls, the other girls who stayed and wanted to see what could unfold, even when things got scary. Maybe this is my secret. Most people don’t know that, deep down, I am capable of being the girl that sits in Starbucks and reads for hours, quiet and distant from the rest of the world, while also being the girl that wants to party and go wild in a way that I’ve never had the guts to, reckless and stupid. I know what it’s like to see an opportunity before me, no matter how bad a decision I know it to be, and still want to take it - fuck all the consequences. I’ve consciously made terrible choices before. I think that’s why this movie spoke to me, and why it might not have for a lot of people. I have all these sides to me, good and bad sides, and sometimes I really want to indulge in the bad, even though I’ve never really let myself go very far. I want to make mistakes, I want to feel invincible, and I want to have a mindless kind of fun. I know not everyone shares these sentiments.
Who would I be if I let it take over? Do I even have the courage to? Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I don’t think I ever could, not really. Instead, I’ll have to settle for living vicariously through movies like Spring Breakers instead, because escape is easier when it’s done in the movies, and sometimes I just need to run.