White Girl begins with the desperate move of a mother and her three children to an Asian area of Bradford in order to escape her violent husband.
Leah (an outstanding performance by Holly Kenny), 11 years old and the eldest child is the titular white girl. Her mum is an alcoholic and she bears much of the responsibility for her younger brother and sister. Initially, she feels alienated within the community, but gradually she befriends her asian next door neighbour. As she does so, she discovers more about Islam, until she converts, an action which brings her into direct conflict with her family.
I absolutely loved this film. With realistic dialogue and performances, more then any other drama dealing with similar subject matter, it showed the solace and joy of faith. To non-Muslims, it can be baffling to outsiders why people become Muslim and why, even in the face of opposition from their loved ones, coverts feel it’s a belief and a way of live that they cannot leave.
Minor quibbles would be that one character said ” Allah, Peace be upon him” which is obviously incorrect. The modern soundtrack was also a tad obtrusive at times (but then I have a Dogme 95 view of music in films) and there was some unnecessary nudity.
As a convert, although, Alhamdulilah, my personal circumstances were not nearly as dire as Leah’s, I definitely could relate to her feeling and actions. As the time period since conversion increases, it is easy to forget the struggles and often loneliness which initially follow conversion. White Girl was a reminder for me of all that had happened since my conversion and how thankful I am.
You can watch the film online here