A conflicting title and even more conflicting feelings
When I first heard about Netflix’s “Horse Girl,” I couldn’t believe that they actually made a movie about the niche population. Upon reading the film synopsis, the movie had actually very little to do with horses.
The Netflix team must be full of early 90s nostalgia like they are with the 80s and “Stranger Things” because all initial aspects of the movie led me to believe that it took place in the 90s—from main character Sarah’s (Alison Brie) kitschy garb to her gold Volvo and homemade anklets. But when Sarah took out her iPhone, I knew we were in the present day.
At first, Sarah seems like an awkward woman working at a craft store with no friends other than her roommate who pities her, but things quickly take a weird turn when her roommate’s boyfriend catches Sarah standing with her face against the wall sleepwalking.
Slowly, things got weirder and I found myself questioning, “what the f– is going on?”
“Horse Girl” could be described as a campy, slow-burn mixed with an appealing indie aesthetic of soft texture and neon lighting accompanied by synth music.
Despite Sarah’s absurdity, the viewer can’t help but have a soft spot for her as the sweet girl with an obsession for horses and crafts quickly spirals into insanity.
Time after time, Sarah tries to open up to others—her doctor and love interest—about her theory that she is an alien-made clone and actually her “dead” grandmother, but they reject her speculation and pity her. Again, the heartstrings are being pulled.
It’s not until Sarah wanders into the craft store that she works at in a fugue state, naked and confused, that someone decides to get help for her.
Sarah is admitted into an inpatient hospital that she has been at before, but she doesn’t remember. As her strange dreams continue to plague her even in the safety of the hospital, she doesn’t find validation until she wakes in her room to find that she has a roommate accompanying her.
Oddly enough, they’ve been having the same dreams of a white, ethereal ramp floating above the ocean and blurred aliens harassing the clones in their sleep.
With the validation comes confidence for Sarah and she tells her social worker that she understands what is happening and that her life is on a loop.
Finally, the story comes full circle and the viewer can be left satisfied knowing that Sarah is safe on her own, as she leaves the hospital with a smile on her face.
But of course, there’s a twist that left me with my mouth open, dumbfounded and questioning what I had just watched in the last hour and 44 minutes.
“Horse Girl” is a conflicting title for this film because it really has little to do with horses, though Sarah’s horse is one of her only friends in the story. This sci-fi had me cringing the whole time as I hoped for validation for Sarah just as she hoped too.