Robin Wright Penn co-stars in Virgin.  She also helped produce it, which may explain her role.  What this does not explain is why she chose to help fund this film.  Penn (A Home at the End of the World, The Singing Detective) would seem to have better taste.  She usually does drift towards the smaller, more independent films, but they tend to be of better quality, or are more ambitious than Virgin, a rough first film from writer/director Deborah Kampmeier.  It has a very under developed feel to it, and Kampmeier can never quite convey any ideas.  Instead, there seem to be a few things, fighting to get to the surface, but none succeed.

Virgin is about Jessie Reynolds (Elizabeth Moss, The Missing, Girl, Interrupted), a young high schooler trying to fit in.  Her sister Katie (Stephanie Gatschet, Roger Dodger, Needle in a Haystack) is thinner, more popular, and much more devout than she is.  The entire Reynolds family ardently believes in God, and Jessie doesn't.  She has paper route, but drinks and steal stuff from the local store to rebel. She also pines after Shane (Charles Socarides), who will not give her the time of day.  The only guy who's interested in her is Michael (Sam Riley, Saint-Ex), and she could care less about him.

One night at a party, she gets drunk and passes out.  Shane takes advantage of her, and the next day Jessie has a vision that she is pregnant.  She believes that he is carrying Christ in her womb, and that it was an immaculate conception.  First, she only tells Katie. Later, as the pregnancy begins to show, she tells her parents, who immediately tell her she will give up the baby for adoption. Meanwhile, the entire school turns against her, calling her "whore," "slut," and spreading rumors of extreme promiscuity.  Kampmeier then takes things off the deep end, as events in Virgin spiral downward to some pretty unbelievable levels.  She takes the sensitivity of the subject to the extreme, losing any light touch she had in the earlier portions of Virgin.

Moss and the rest of the cast are fine, it's just the script that doesn't do them justice.  Kampmeier never explains why Moss believes she is carrying Christ.  Is she crazy?  It is her strange way of looking for acceptance from her peers?  And the way that everybody at her school turns on her is a little far-fetched.  Yes, the entire community may be Bible-thumping believers, but this is still high school, and everybody knows what comes with high school, especially if the parties that Jessie goes to are as alcohol strewn as Kampmeier shows.  Kampmeier jumps forward, skipping most of Jessie's pregnancy, which also doesn't help matters.  How is she dealing with all this as time changes?  By the time the film catches up with her, she seems exactly the same, although her parents and sister most likely still think her loony, and everybody at school mocks her.  There is a good opportunity to look at how religion affects the town, or Jessie's absence of faith affects her in relation to everybody else, or how Jessie's worldview changes once her pregnancy begins.  Instead, Kampmeier populates the film with flat characterizations (including a fire and brimstone preacher) and goonish intolerance.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 54 minutes, Not Rated but contains language, teen drinking, and some sensuality, an easy R.

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