Dirty Girl (2010 film)

Dirty Girl is a 2010 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Abe Sylvia. It stars Juno Temple, Milla Jovovich, and William H. Macy. The film premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2010.[4] It was released theatrically by The Weinstein Company[5] on October 7, 2011.[6]

Dirty Girl
Dirty Girl (2010 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAbe Sylvia
Produced by
Written byAbe Sylvia
Music byJeff Toyne
CinematographySteve Gainer
Edited byJonathan Lucas
  • iDeal Partners
  • Hart-Lunsford Pictures
  • Cherry Sky Films
  • The Salt Company
  • Paris Films
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company
Release date
  • September 12, 2010 (2010-09-12) (TIFF)
  • October 7, 2011 (2011-10-07) (United States; limited)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million[1]
Box office$55,125[2][3]


In 1987 in Oklahoma, Danielle Edmondston is a troubled and promiscuous high school student. She argues with her mother, Sue-Ann, who is about to marry a Mormon, Ray, and amidst the chaos she befriends Clarke Walters, a shy, gay classmate. Together, they flee in a car owned by Clarke's homophobic father, Joseph, and embark on a road trip to Fresno, where Danielle expects to find her birth father, Danny Briggs. Meanwhile, Sue-Ann and Clarke's mother, Peggy, chase after them.

Joseph breaks into Danielle's house in an attempt to find Clarke, only to find that the entire family is gone in vacation, besides Danielle, who has already left with Clarke. Joseph is then arrested for breaking into the house. He calls Peggy to bail him out, only to find out that Peggy refuses to let him out and that she will not allow him to harm Clarke for being gay anymore. Joseph, aggravated, has to stay in the cell until a judge can see him.

On the way, Danielle and Clarke pick up a hitchhiker named Joel, who after they stop for rest, has sex with Clarke. Clarke awakens the next morning to find that he is gone, leaving him heartbroken. Clarke blames Danielle for this. After seemingly moving on and getting back in the car, it breaks down on the side of the road. Clarke and Danielle continue on foot, trying to rent a car, only to find Joseph has been released from prison and has reported their credit card stolen. Desperate for money, the two enter a bar and Danielle enters a stripping contest. After she is booed profusely, Clarke realizes that it is a biker gay bar. Danielle tells him he must strip instead.

Clarke is cheered as he dances, but is caught by Joseph who enters during this. Danielle collects the prize money, but they are both taken in Joseph's other car. Clarke provokes his father into pulling the car over to attack him, while he tells Danielle to flee. Danielle manages to make it to a bus station, upset having to had to leave Clarke behind. She finds her father's house, where she is met by her mother, who asks her to leave. Danielle manages to make it to her father, who rejects her, revealing he has a young daughter.

Sad, Danielle goes home and visits Clarke's mother, who tells her that Clarke's father has sent him to military school and has moved into an apartment. Danielle enters the talent show and sings "Don't Cry Out Loud" by Melissa Manchester, who is Clarke's favorite singer. As she breaks down singing, Clarke enters dressed in a military uniform. They finish the song together and get into Danielle's car. Clarke reveals that his mother let him out early and that, in an all boys school, he became very popular, with some sexual implications. Danielle, with a less rebellious attitude, and Clarke, now no longer afraid to be himself, drive off into the sunset.



Abe Sylvia developed the story in 2004 while attending UCLA. Sylvia describes it as a fictional account of “growing up in the 1980s” that draws upon some of his adolescent experiences in Oklahoma.[7][8]

Sally Hawkins and Lisa Kudrow were originally cast in late 2009.[9] Jovovich subsequently replaced Hawkins in the role of Sue-Ann, and Mary Steenburgen replaced Kudrow in the role of Peggy.

Filming began in Southern California in 2010 and was completed in Los Angeles in May 2010.[7]


Dirty Girl received mostly negative critical reviews, with a "Rotten" rating of 25% at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 28 reviews.[10] In the New York Times, A.O. Scott declared that he found himself cheering not for the main characters on their road trip, but for the actors Temple and Dozier who were doing their best to salvage a chaotic script that "has far less insight, and much less panache, than a randomly chosen episode of Glee."[11]

The film underperformed at the box-office, earning only $55,125 against an estimated budget of $4 million, due to a limited release.


  1. ^ Longwell, Todd. "As tiers go buy". Variety. July 28, 2011
  2. ^ Dirty Girl. The Numbers. accessed October 9, 2011.
  3. ^ "Juno Temple". Box Office Mojo. accessed August 13, 2012.
  4. ^ Brijbassi, Adrian. "TIFF film tips include these 5 travel movies". Toronto Star. September 8, 2010
  5. ^ Weinsteins take US, UK and multiple territories on Dirty Girl Screen Daily. September 13, 2010
  6. ^ Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange. "New Dirty Girl Edit Hits U.S. October 7, Stars Dark Knight Rises’ Juno Temple" Archived July 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. IndieWire. July 2, 2011
  7. ^ a b Brian Brooks and Bryce Renninger. "In the Works: 'Dirty Girl,' Teenage Magellan, Anti-Coal Granny, Serbian Brass Fest, Women in Rodeo". indieWire. June 10, 2010
  8. ^ Cieply, Michael. "In Vastness of Toronto, Small Films Take Root". The New York Times. September 10, 2010
  9. ^ Kemp, Stuart. "Four join cast of Abe Sylvia's 'Dirty Girl'". The Hollywood Reporter. November 24, 2009
  10. ^ "Dirty Girl (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. accessed October 9, 2011.
  11. ^ Scott, A.O. A Pair of Adolescent Outcasts Hit the Road in Search of Freedom and a Father, accessed July 9, 2012

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