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“The Girl Without Hands” Movie Review by Daniel Barnes

The Girl Without Hands

The Girl Without Hands (2017; Sébastien Laudenbach)


By Daniel Barnes

*Opens Friday, September 15, at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

In this woozy adaptation of the Grimm Brothers fairy tale, a young girl is sold to the devil by her poor father in exchange for a river of gold.  With sexy results!

She gets protected by her cleanliness and leaves her family for the forest, where she meets a water goddess and marries a prince, but the devil’s persistent schemes eventually drive them apart.

It always kills me to lambaste a hand-animated passion project.  However, French director Laudenbach’s half-drawn watercolor images mostly left me unmoved.  Even at a mere 76 minutes, the muddy pacing, vague designs and muted emotions of The Girl Without Hands make it a bit of a chore.

To its credit, the film feels like a more faithful version of the Grimm Brothers than we usually get from the edge-sanding Disney adaptations.  Ultimately, though, the film cares more about splashing around in a pool of hippy-dippy aloofness than developing strong characters.

Read more of Daniel’s reviews at Dare Daniel and Rotten Tomatoes, and listen to Daniel on the Dare Daniel podcast.