Published Jan 01, 2006Blue Car is a bleak coming of age story about Meg (Agnes Bruckner), a teenaged girl who is reeling from the bitter divorce of her parents and saddled with the responsibility of looking after her self-destructive younger sister (Regan Arnold). Meg's angst-filled poetry catches the attention of her English teacher (David Strathairn), who encourages her to enter a national poetry competition. As Meg's home life disintegrates further, she turns to her teacher for comfort and an uncomfortably close relationship develops between them. The film is quite a depressing take on the teenage experience, with the lessons all learned the extremely hard way and the end result seeming that things might only get marginally better. This unrelenting moodiness is fortunately made very watchable by the film's striking performances. Agnes Bruckner plays Meg with the right combination of toughness and vulnerability, able to be selfish and manipulative at one moment and completely honest and raw the next. Young Regan Arnold is haunting as Meg's sister, the determination to obliterate herself becoming increasingly fixed on her cherubic face. The always excellent David Strathairn steers his teacher character away from the cliched sleazy seducer by giving a complex portrayal of a sad and lonely man struggling hard against his impulses. The scene where the relationship between teacher and student turns physical is the best in the film, and in fact the most honest take on that oft played scenario that I've ever seen, so painful and pathetic that I cringe just thinking about it.