Set in Bavaria in the mid-’70s, The Nasty Girl portraits Sonja (Lena Stolze), an intellectually precocious young housewife with time on her hands that decides to enter an essay contest by writing about what went on in her picturesque village during the Nazi era. She assumes she’ll discover that the town was full of noble resistance fighters. But, in fact, there were darker goings on, and the more she tries to dig through the local archives, the more the townspeople stymie her, shun her, and finally threaten her family with violence. Working from a true story, the German director Michael Verhoeven creates a deadpan investigative comedy in which the central joke is how obstinately everyone in town is still denying the past. Verhoeven works in a lively, offbeat style. He keeps the story spinning and throws in a welter of cinematic flourishes, such as a fake- documentary structure and scenes that are played out before surreal rear-projection backdrops. Yet after a while, a certain smugness sets in. Though the movie by no means trivializes the Holocaust, it views those who would erase the Nazi past with sophomoric disdain. The Nasty Girl is too busy spitting in their eyes to illuminate what they’re about. B
Genre: Drama, Historical; Starring: Lena Stolze, Michael Verhoeven, Robert Giggenbach; Director: Michael Verhoeven; Author: Michael Verhoeven; Status: In Season; Runtime (in minutes): In Season; MPAA Rating: In Season; Distributor: Miramax
Posted December 7 1990 — 12:00 AM EST
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