A trip to the gynecologist is rarely anyone’s favorite activity, but Maddie Ziegler has an especially bad time there in Molly McGlynn’s Bloody Hell. The “traumedy” made its debut at the SXSW Film Festival and finds Ziegler playing a 16-year-old named Lindy, who is determined to lose her virginity to her boyfriend but whose plans are delayed by an unexpected diagnosis—one that challenges her perceptions of womanhood, sexuality, and herself. Personal, raw, and at times wickedly funny, the film is an excellent showcase for Ziegler, whose natural performance leaves a lasting impression.
There’s a rainy quality hanging in the air of Bloody Hell, McGlynn’s sophomore follow-up to her 2017 debut Mary Goes Round. Lindy has recently moved into her grandmother’s old house with her mother, Rita—played by an especially thorny Emily Hampshire, formerly seen on Schitt’s Creek. (You can also catch Hampshire in fellow SXSW feature Appendage.)
Rita is determined to make the place feel like home, and Lindy seems to blend in seamlessly at school. Before long, she and her new BFF Vivian (Djouliet Amara) are chatting over the possibility that she might soon bed her boyfriend, Adam (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai).