Film Review: ‘Blue My Mind’

It is the first day at a new school for teenaged Mia (Luna Wedler). At lunch break, a girl shyly tries to make friends. But the pouty, pretty Mia, who is just days away from her first period and is perhaps taking this new start as an opportunity to better her social standing, has her eyes on a different clique. Wild-child Gianna (Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen), all silky waist-length hair and bare midriff, is the sexually precocious center of a trio of girls (orbited by an undifferentiated constellation of good-looking but oafish boys) that will soon become a quartet with Mia’s inclusion.

The setup for actor-turned-writer/director Lisa Brühlmann’s debut feature is beautifully drawn and remarkably well-performed especially by Wedler and Holthuizen, but it’s hardly anything we haven’t seen in a hundred coming-of-age tales before. But then suddenly there’s Mia standing over her living room tank of tropical fish, scooping them alive and wriggling into her mouth, chewing and swallowing, her eyes glassy and manic.

At first, the incipient symptoms of Mia’s — how to put it — disorder, are cleverly paralleled with those of the more humdrum psychological issues that can plague teenage girls on the cusp of maturity. She gulps down a glass of salt water (a trick bulimia sufferers use to induce vomiting); she lashes out at her mother (Regula Grauwiller) with a physical force that she doesn’t seem to know she has; she develops a sudden awareness of a physical abnormality that her doctor insists she must have had since birth, and cuts away at herself in a way that explicitly evokes self-harm. And all of this exists amid a haze of MDMA, benzedrine, pot, and alcohol that becomes headily entwined with parental rebellion, sexual competitiveness, and perhaps, it is hinted, physical attraction between the girls, as they party and shoplift and dare each other on to ever more dangerous behavior.