Cast: Lucy Fry, Eiza Gonzalez, Christian Camargo, Josh Hartnett
Director: Alexandra McGuinness
This is my last independent movie I’m reviewing from 2019 I swear. I’ve watched what seems to be a fair amount of movies in 2019 where studios didn’t exactly invest a ton of money or advertising in them, but She’s Missing just didn’t feel like anything valuable was being made here. I think the movie’s going for something of a Gone Girl feel with a couple of unique elements to make it feel fresh, but it doesn’t quite work the way it wants to. For a piece of entertainment lasting 100 minutes, She’s Missing isn’t the worst possible way to spend that time, but there has to be at least one other drama that you can enjoy more.
The film follows Heidi (Fry) a waitress working at a cafe in the middle of nowhere who has aspirations of one day moving somewhere larger and doing something interesting with her life. When her recently married best friend Jane (Gonzalez) went missing after attending a local rodeo, Heidi starts an investigation to find her missing friend. What she discovers connects Jane with many of the missing girls in the area and a world that Heidi had no idea existed in her community. In a sense, the easiest way to summarize She’s Missing is by saying it’s like Under the Silver Lake with a female lead and set in a rural environment. Both have that bizarre feeling of what the protagonists uncover, but at the same time I give the movie credit for trying to be creative. Adding this weird, almost supernatural element to the movie definitely showed that those involved in the making of this movie cared and wanted to be something special compared to other movies within its genre. That being said, a truly good movie won’t do something purely to do something, and She’s Missing definitely feels like it’s being bizarre for the sake of being bizarre. Everything that comes at us when we learn the details surrounding Jane’s disappearance are captivating and interesting enough on their own to carry the movie, but because the characters are generally uninteresting and uninspired compared to the plot surrounding them, it makes the story fall flat and prevents it from living up to the expectations it set for itself. The sad part is, nobody makes a movie like this for a quick buck, so the reality is that the vision of McGuinness just didn’t work here. For a director and writer still finding their footing, I have confidence that she’ll find her way and deliver when given an opportunity in the future. There was potential from the beginning of a movie like She’s Missing to really corner the independent market and do something unique, but in a strange twist of fate its ability to try so hard to be different prevents it from covering the basics of moviemaking first. These are things that can be fixed over time, but for where we are now She’s Missing ends up feeling like a school film with a little more depth than average.
Overall, it’s odd to see Gonzalez in a movie like She’s Missing as she’s on the verge of becoming one of the bigger names for female performers in blockbuster action movies, but it’s something different for her that just didn’t work out this time. I encourage everyone involved in this movie to keep taking risks and doing interesting work, because one of these days it will work out in a huge way. Fry did well in her first real leading role and think based on what we saw here she’ll get plenty more chances in the future.
Overall Score: 5/10