Gal Young ‘Un (1979)

Gal Young ‘Un (1979)

“I’m too quick for ya, old lady.”

Gal Young Un

Lonely widow Mattie Siles (Dana Preu) falls for sweet-talking Trax (David Peck), who wants her money to build himself a still. When his moonshine operation becomes successful, he starts running around with other women — but when he brings Gal Young ‘Un (J. Smith-Cameron) home to live with them, Mattie plots her revenge.


Response to Peary’s Review:

As Peary notes, this “absorbing low-budget independent film” by Victor Nunez (director of Ruby in Paradise and Ulee’s Gold) is “poignant yet unsentimental”. Based on a short story by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the plot builds slowly but surely; by the end, we’re completely invested in what happens to Mattie, and rooting for her all the way. Preu (who only performed in one other film) is wonderfully natural, and Smith-Cameron does a fine job as the meek Gal Young “Un, who simply wants Mattie — or somebody — to like her.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • Dana Preu as Mattie
    Gal Young Un Preu
  • Smith-Cameron as Gal Young ‘Un
    Gal Young Un Smith-Cameron
  • Mattie’s revenge
  • The surprise ending

Must See?
No, but it’s highly recommended.


One thought on “Gal Young ‘Un (1979)

  1. Not a must.

    First viewing.

    Not an easy film to assess, really. Given the setting and situation, it didn’t call for much beyond low-budgeting – and that’s certainly what it got. It’s been produced well for what it is – and Nunez has efficiently…and a little too effectively…captured the story he set out to tell. It’s a depressing tale (as films by Nunez tend to be) and – at least in the case here – one wonders a bit why Nunez bothered: we see where things are headed early on and the course toward the conclusion remains bleak and steady.

    The film does make one interesting observation: even a good nature can be susceptible to a bad one and take on its properties. That’s a subtle point that’s only touched on as things wind up; it might have been nice to see that play out some.

    For viewers, there isn’t a whole lot here that saves us from simply wanting to be away from the sad, pathetic goings-on. The leads do a fine job on the level of independent filmmaking but it almost doesn’t matter. Far from “poignant”, this is one sorry set-up all-around.

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