From the sound of its title, you might think that Bloody Hell is a violent horror film. But in fact it’s a mostly (and significantly) blood-free exploration of what it’s like to be a teenager that doesn’t quite fit in. It’s described as a “traumedy” about a sixteen-year-old girl shaken by the news of a reproductive condition that will play heavily into both her sex life and her potential to become a future mother…
Maddie Ziegler (The Fallout, Music) stars as Lindy, whose relationship with her mother (Emily Hampshire) is already unconventional. Used to comments and questions that suggest there are no real boundaries between them, Lindy isn’t eager to talk about the fact that she hasn’t yet gotten her first period. A visit to a doctor reveals that she has MRKH Syndrome, meaning that she has no uterus, among other things. Devastated by this information, Lindy navigates attraction to multiple people and figuring out who she can trust with her secret who will be sympathetic and understanding.
To describe this film as a sex comedy is a misnomer for several reasons. While there are humorous setups and situations, it includes a good deal of drama. What Lindy is going through may be funny in hindsight, but as she’s experiencing it, it’s both embarrassing and painful. This film treats its subject matter with maturity and sensitivity, making it clear that bullies or the doctors who speak condescendingly to patients that don’t have the information they need or unkind bullies are the ones to blame.
Bloody Hell presents a useful lens to bring a conversation about conditions that are often not talked about or even known to the general public. While it does deal also with gender identity – one of Lindy’s crushes identifies as intersex and there are some who say that having MRKH also means someone is intersex – it’s much more about the shame Lindy feels when she believes that there is something wrong with her. The casing of that story isn’t perfect, but this is clearly a personal film for writer-director Molly McGlynn, who describes it as a semi-autobiographical middle finger to the patriarchy and the need to even define what a woman is. As a film, it has its poignant and entertaining moments, but it could probably be put to best use as an accessible teaching tool about hidden conditions that shouldn’t be burdened with stigma. B