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movie and film reviews

Volume 15/Issue 18

Reel to Real
by Chuc LaVenture

Career Girls

Career Girls is the story of Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (Lynda Steadman), two rather off-beat girls who are coming together after six years of being apart. In the opening scene we see Annie on a train, apparently headed for London. She is lost in her memories, which we get in flashback form. These are the memories of her college days. Annie and Hannah were not what you would call the epitome of social acceptability during their college days. Annie was grossly insecure, which manifested itself in various physical ticks and a severe skin rash. Hannah was manic to the point of social unacceptability. The girls become roommates and, against all odds, are successful at living together. The film follows the two women over a weekend, as they catch up and re-evaluate their lives.

The girls spend the weekend remembering how things were and discussing the way things are now. At first it is obvious that both girls are a bit uncomfortable with this meeting. Annie has been living in the north and is apparently not very happy with her living arrangements. She's ready to break out and change things, she believes, for the better, by moving away from the security that her parents proximity affords her. Hannah has decided to buy a flat in London, a big step in that it implies permanence and stability. In the course of the weekend the girls have a couple of chance encounters that dredge up many painful and a few pleasant memories. By the end of the weekend they both have come to the conclusion that there was value there when they were young. They part happier for having spent the time together.

The acting in this film is superlative. Every character is completely believable. Lynda Steadman's Annie is positively painful to watch. There is a truth to her pain that makes it difficult to believe that she is not actually debilitatingly insecure. The way that the film is shot is equal to the acting with the flashback scenes having been shot in a black and white format-very symbolic of the dark past. The story is seemless in the telling. The plot does not jump around and there are no sudden departures, but one rather has to wonder what the point of the film is. The characters are poignant and mildly abstract, but I'm not sure what the message is. They go through the turbulence of adolescence, move on to careers and they grow up. They don't even do this very intriguingly. So I'm just not sure what the point of the film was, and I say this while openly admitting that I enjoyed the movie. One can derive a great deal of pleasure from being a voyeur. Who knows-maybe that's the point of the movie.

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