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Ashley (Abbie Cornish) blames her recent termination from a big box store on her boss favoring Mexican women. In Ashley's eyes, the reason she lost custody of her son to social services has nothing to do with her being an unstable, self-circumventing lush.

The idea of transporting undocumented immigrants across the border as a means of supplementing income was accidentally planted in Ashley's head by her father (Will Paxton) after she heard what sounded like human beings banging around inside the back of his big rig.

Initially motivated by greed -- each passenger nets $500 -- Ashley forms an unlikely alliance with a 4-year old stowaway, separated from her mother, that she finds hiding in the back of her car. Dad's suggestion that Ashley dump the kid in a public square and be done with her would have made for a 15 minute movie. Borrowing a page from the Lifetime Channel, Ashley decides to be a savior, thus living her life vicariously (and predictably) through the little girl.

Sound familiar? Cast another powerful actress in the lead, change the nationality of the boarder-jumpers, warm the waters by shifting the locale from Upstate New York to Texas, and voilà, it's Frozen River rehash.

The Australian Cornish flows in and out of a southern dialect (and Spanish) with the greatest of ease. She's a remarkable presence on screen - even a 'sucker punch' from Zack Snyder didn't slow her down -- and as such is the only reason to see this movie.

The Girl screens Wednesday night at 7:30pm as part of the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Click for more information.

Reader Rating: One Star

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