An incisive sketch of a college freshman negotiating the light-years between campus and home over Easter break, Bradley Rust Gray's The Exploding Girl is a character study of one young woman - and of an entire generation struggling to maintain external maturity despite internal regression.
Zoe Kazan is Ivy, the central figure in this modest feature, home for the holiday and a medical checkup. Matter-of-factly, Ivy discusses her epilepsy with her doctor. It's been five months since her last seizure, prompted by sleeplessness and alcohol. We see how studiously she avoids the behaviors that trigger her condition.
The movie, a series of extended sequences shot in real time, explores her transition from the soft green blur of her drive down from Upstate New York to a Manhattan of harsh gray pavements and discordant sound. The audio design of Gray's film is particularly expressive of Ivy's inner state, and is in marked contrast to the tranquillity of her heart-shaped face.