Gretchen Finkle is that kid at everyone’s high school who attracts a strange, but strong sense of dislike. You know the kid I’m talking about…the one who doesn’t fit in, dresses kind of funny and is just plain annoying. Rather than embrace this unlikable loser, we go for the jugular every time and tease or beat on the kid until they shrink and become invisible in the hallway as a means of self defense. Such is the case with the title character in “Gretchen.”
Steve Collins’s film catches up with Gretchen as she falls in love with a total creep named Ricky. She thinks they’re in love until she finds him making out with a local slut in an alley way. This not only breaks Gretchen’s heart, but allows for some seriously pent up aggression to come out. The rage lands her in hot water but also gives her a chance to seek some freedom from the burdens of high school. After again falling for the wrong guy, Gretchen seeks out her father and the source of all her awkward discomfort becomes crystal clear.
“Gretchen” is a really dry, funny and sad film. Courtney Davis as Gretchen gives a solid performance as does the rest of the cast. Particularly John Merriman as Ricky and Becky Ann Baker as Gretchen’s mom. The bond between Gretchen and her mother is a sweet touch and without it, one might think Collins was cinematically abusing Gretchen just as everyone else does throughout the film. Gretchen’s mother is her biggest fan, maybe even her only fan. All in all it has to be mentioned that this film seems a tad long. I like how Collins follows through on the character arcs he sets out, but it’s almost like the joke gets old before the film is over. That said “Gretchen” is still worthy of a peek because it’s funny and might even make you rethink how you treat the “Gretchen” at your workplace. C’mon, you know you have one.