The BFF tearjerker has become as much of a classic movie genre as the spaghetti Western. From true-to-life coming-of-age tales to workplace dramas, friendship is portrayed in many different ways on screen. Whether you’re looking for movies for a marathon with your best friends, or you’re planning an old-school sleepover, these movies about friendship must make your list.
The movies are full of bromances, but we hardly ever see a decent film about friendships between women (when was the last? ‘Bridesmaids’?). This charming, drifty indie comedy, shot in gorgeous black and white, is a love story between Frances and Sophie. Like Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ it feels totally honest. In your twenties you decide on the final version of you. Sophie is working on it; Frances is stuck in her crazy, clueless, can’t-pay-the-rent stage. She’s getting it all wrong but is sweetly cocky – a kooky clumsy cool girl in the tradition of Annie Hall.
The script, co-written by Gerwig and her boyfriend Noah Baumbach (who directs), is full of spiky-real one-liners – like this, when someone compares Frances to Sophie: ‘Are you older than her? You have an older face.’ You’ve got to love Gerwig for writing lines like that for herself. If you’ve not seen her in a film before, you will walk out of ‘Frances Ha’ having watched your new favourite actress.
Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Elsewhere, ’50/50′ runs into trouble: Jonathan Levine’s direction is sitcom-flat and the soundtrack is stuffed with predictable indie whinge-rock from the likes of Radiohead and Pearl Jam. Most damaging of all, the film’s female characters run the gamut of misogynist cliché: Anna Kendrick is sympathetic but non-threatening as the love interest, while the treatment of Adam’s flighty, unsupportive ex-girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) develops from dismissive to vicious, a bitter streak also reflected in Rogen’s bullish, unlikeable turn and a shrill, throwaway appearance by Angelica Huston as Adam’s flappy mum.
In Reiner’s superior slice of teen nostalgia, Dreyfuss is the now middle-aged writer, looking back at the dear dead days beyond recall when he and a group of young friends ventured into the local woods where they believed a corpse was buried. Based on an (apparently) semi-autobiographical story by Stephen King, the film covers similar territory to countless other rites-of-passage dramas. The Ben E King theme song and all the imagery of tousled adolescents preening themselves like miniature James Deans rekindle memories of old jeans commercials, but the film is so well-observed and so energetically acted by its young cast that mawkishness is kept at bay.
Forrest Gump is a simple man with a low I.Q. but good intentions. He is running through childhood with his best and only friend Jenny. His ‘mama’ teaches him the ways of life and leaves him to choose his destiny. Forrest joins the army for service in Vietnam, finding new friends called Dan and Bubba, he wins medals, creates a famous shrimp fishing fleet, inspires people to jog, starts a ping-pong craze, creates the smiley, writes bumper stickers and songs, donates to people and meets the president several times. However, this is all irrelevant to Forrest who can only think of his childhood sweetheart Jenny Curran, who has messed up her life. Although in the end all he wants to prove is that anyone can love anyone.
Romy and Michelle (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow) are two unnatural blonde bimbos who were inseperable in high school and are now living together in L.A. They learn about their 10-year high school reuninon and desperately want to go and blow everyone away with jelousy in revenge for the hell that the A-list crowd made their lives in high school. Unfortunately they have no real jobs, no boyfriends, and no accomplishements to speak of. So they borrow a car, dress in business suits and make up a story about how they invented post-it notes. Along the way they have a huge fight and end up making a fool of themselves when they are exposed for the frauds they are. That’s when the two decide to just be themselves and blow everyone away with the fact that they like who they are. The jokes in the movie, as with any movie, run hot and cold, but here they come flying one after the other with little setup or room for reaction that the movie almost feels like a parody of another movie. Despite this, there are some truely hilareous moments. As usual, Garofalo is the secret backup weapon as she out-performs in her secondary role as she’s done in so many other films. What sets Romy and Michele apart as characters though, is that dispite having gone nowhere after ten years, they are still friends who are closer to each other than family. How many people can claim to have that?
Mean Girls is a 2004 American teen comedy film directed by Mark Waters and written by Tina Fey. The film is based in part on Rosalind Wiseman’s non-fiction self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes, which describes female high school social cliques and the damaging effects they can have on girls.
For a movie generated from the Amerindie algorithm of family dysfunction, road-trip catharsis and studied quirk, this dark-edged ensemble comedy often borders on the loveable – as if a long-division problem had somehow become self-aware and started pining for a heart, a brain and some nerve. The yellow brick freeway in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ leads to a girls’ beauty contest for Olive (Abigail Breslin), a cutie pie who’s nonetheless not quite pageant material. Because they are characters in a movie and for no other reason, Olive’s entire family must pile into a wheezing van to deliver her to the competition for the titular crown: Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) recently survived a suicide attempt, mum (Toni Collette) is loving but overextended, dad (Greg Kinnear) is an aspiring self-help guru and therefore a nightmare, brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) is a teenager and therefore mute and sulking, and grandpa (Alan Arkin) is a grandpa and therefore crusty and foul-mouthed. Fox Searchlight purchased Dayton and Faris’s by-the-numbers feature debut at Sundance for the astronomical sum of $10.5 million, a price tag that seems all the more incongruous affixed to such a modest exploration of failures professional, physical, romantic, financial, mechanical and otherwise. The actors are uniformly fine, even affecting, so it’s too bad that the jittery camerawork and editing chops up their performances so carelessly. And while the arrhythmic incoherence of the climactic stage routine would be merely appalling from most filmmakers, coming from a directing team that made their names in music videos, it’s, shall we say, superfreaky.