Little Miss Perfect (2016)

littlemissperfectAs changes happen around her, an overambitious teen turns to weight control in order to feel more in charge of her life and herself. Written and directed by Marlee Roberts, Little Miss Perfect is an intimate look at an exemplary student’s descent into anorexia as a way to feel in control of her life while also being a cautionary t tale about the dangers of leaving teenagers unsupervised and about the influence online strangers can have on one person.  The film’s story gathers the perfect confluence of reasons for this to happen: Disappearance of her mother, absent father, peer pressure, starting to date, internet influences, popularity of “thinspo”, etc.

The decently developed lead characters has many factors stacked against her easily influenced emerging personality.  The adults, with the exception of one, seem mostly absent from her life, leaving her to her own devices also has a huge impact on her thought process.  The film concentrates on its lead of Belle (Anabelle) and her friends more than anything else to establish her character, her life, and why she ends up starving herself.  In the lead of Belle, or Anabelle, newcomer Karlee Roberts gives a good performance as the weight and calorie obsessed teen.  The way she pulls away from those close to her and shows this and other teen struggles feels realistic to this (admittedly non-teen) reviewer.  Playing her frenemy Lyla, Izzy Palmieri plays her character as on that edge of nice and nasty.

She makes it feel like she’s never 100% one or the other, giving a layered and calculated performance.  The rest of the mostly teen cast does decently with an off scene here and there, but not often enough to become a big problem. The film’s cinematography by Oren Soffer is simple and allows the film to focus on what is going on with the lead and the emotions behind it all.  His cinematography is un-intrusive but also doesn’t add anything stylistic to the film unfortunately.  The music by Giona Ostinelli works with the film and is also subtle and un-intrusive.

A surprising aspect of the film, which will not be spoiled here as to what exactly it entails are the special effects by Nicholas Johnson and the visual effects by Andrew Aprahamian and Matthew Roscoe which add an extra layer to Belle’s view of herself and her environment.  Their work creates a visual support to what goes on in Belle’s mind and help the viewer to connect with her.

Little Miss Perfect is a cautionary tale about the dangers of unattended teens, anorexia, and peer pressure.  The film shows its writer/director’s passion for it and that she put a lot in the script and direction.  First-timer lead Karlee Roberts shows a lot of potential and an ability to portray difficult situation that should take her far.