Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Recommended To: Those interested in media and pop culture, social constructions of violence, sexism, and gender, true crime story buffs
Special Warnings: centred on sexual assault including dramatizations from old films, graphic descriptions
Girl 27 was a film that came up randomly in the Documentary category on the Xbox app, and I decided to check it out late one night. The story seemed intriguing: a massive conspiracy allowed a rape to go unpunished, the survivor shamed and never given justice. Given the time frame, even the accusation itself was bold to pursue.
I would have given this film a higher rating if the maker/narrator of the story wasn’t so full of himself, particularly in the first third of the film. When he gets on topic, the documentary is well researched and juxtaposed cleverly with cinematic representations of sexual assault and the inherent sexism in the scripting. The most moving part, and the reason I recommend the film, is the interviews with Girl 27, Patricia Douglas.
Douglas, an extra/dancer working for MGM, is called along with dozens of other women to a private ranch. It’s disguised as a casting call, but the women have really been brought in to entertain the distribution sales team. Drunk beyond drunk and showered with comments leading them to believe that they can have anything they want at this retreat, one man decides to take everything from Douglas: her dignity, her innocence, and later, her reputation.
The story is poignant, and sadly, we haven’t come very far in our treatment of sexual violence. For that reason alone, Girl 27 is an important watch, but not for the faint of heart.