To accompany BFI's new season, Girlfriends, which is exploring female centric friendships, featuring some excellent films which I will be covering over at VultureHound with the help of Park Circus and BFI too, I thought I'd write an interlude.
Great friendships have been portrayed on screen, whether it be the genre breaking 'Thelma and Louise' or the comedic mess of 'Bridesmaids', or the weird outsiders like Enid and Rebecca, as well those that have been toxic such as in 'Heathers'. But looking over my collection, I can name a handful that are about female friendships and a maybe a dozen more that explore a friendships.
In the name of Galentine's Day (thank you Lesley Knope) I wanted to discuss three films about friendship featuring women.
Nadine Labaki's feature debut was one that I bought on a whim. Reading a few reviews and intrigued by the story and setting, I bought a copy and was delighfully bold over. Centred around a group of friends who work in and frequent a salon on Beruit. These women trust and love each for who they are. They don't expect or ask for anything more. Supporting each other in difficult times, offering comfort when things in their life don't go according to plan. The characters featured in the film are also of various ages, showing what it feel like for a women as she ages as well as challenging what is expected of her, subtling showing what or who makes them happy. Beautifully filmed with a script that is never over dramatic and sensitive to certain subjects, there aren't many films out there like this.
Co-written by Greta Gerwig, now Oscar nominated director for her film, 'Lady Bird', 'Mistress America' is about an unexpected friendship between two women who find out their parents are getting married. Lonely student Tracey meets her soon to be step sister Brooke, who is a fast talking, fast moving New Yorker who knows where all the best places are to eat, meet people and enojy culture, while trying to open a restaurant. From the minute these two meet they connect and genuinely have a great time together. Brooke seems selfcentred but really does care about Tracey and as the latter is a shy writer, Brooke bring out the best in her but at the cost of their whirlwind friendship. This was one my favourite film of 2015 and I was absolutely devastated that there is still no DVD release for the film in the UK. Luckily I was saved by Netflix so I could relive the highs and lows of this genius unstated gem.
We Are the Best
Technically, the leads of this Swedish film from Lukas Moodysson based on the graphic novel 'Never Goodnight' by his wife, Coco, aren't quite yet women, they are 13 years old. But they still learn about friendship and what's important. Outsiders Bobo and Klara, love punk muisc, have punk hairstyles and despite not being able to play instruments, decide to start a band. They forcefully bring naive Hedvig, a talented guitarist, into the fold, as she doesn't have any other friends due to her strict Christian upbringing. But the two punks soon change this, by cutting her hair and writing songs together and the duo become a trio. This is more the beginnings of lifelong friendships being moulded and has a sense of nostalgia. The trailer for the film actually says, this is for anyone who is 13 years old and for those who remember being 13 years old. The three teens have a true friendship founded on wanting to start a band and isn't that how many bands are formed anyway? An upbeat and fun fueled example of female friendships that is relatable even if you don't like punk.
There are many friendships out there featured in films so I hope you all have a fantastic Galentines day by watching one or two or three of them!