20 Movies That Understand The Complexities of Female Friendship
- JWB Post
- September 18, 2015
We all know those films that instantly remind you of your best friends, past and present, they’re called buddy films.
Our best friends are there to support us, console us, make us laugh, defend us, and more, but they can also be the source of our pain and heartbreak. Friendships between females, both young and old, possess a certain intensity that isn’t matched in other dynamics.
This list is a collection of twenty films that portray female friendship and relationships on screen. Every film varies in terms of genre, year of release, narrative, and the age group of the characters. Ranging from childhood, high school, and adulthood, these female friendship films nail the complexity of being a woman in a significant friendship and the lessons learned through life spent with the best companionship.
Written by Noah Baumbach and the star of the film, Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha tells the story of two friends who met in college and instantly became the best duo. They live together, love each other, and depend on each other’s company like life partners often do. But when significant others get in the way and the reality of growing up conflicts with their friendship, they begin to breakdown in their own ways.
But in the break, they discover themselves and most importantly they grow together while being separate to realize that they are meant to be best friends forever, and life will never be the same without each other. Paired with an exciting soundtrack, the film feels romantic at times, but ultimately remains a buddy film that is funny, heartwarming, realistic, intelligent, and just really, really good.
The soundtrack, the cinematography, the dialogue, it’s perfect. Frances Ha captures an aesthetic and quality in media that can often be lost in the mess of television, politics, etc. The twenty-something, struggling post-grad in a large city aesthetic has been seen over and over again with shows like Girls, Broad City, and more, but Frances Ha doesn’t deliver a manufactured relationship to that aesthetic. It feels natural, and it feels relevant, and does it all so elegantly.
One of the most relevant, beautiful lines of dialogue I have ever heard from a film comes from this movie and it perfectly explains being in your 20s and trying to figure your life out, but it’s not that bad when you have your “person.”
“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life.
And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”
The tale of two teenage friends and their imaginative lives blurred with the real world they live in, creates the cinematic experience that is one to discuss over drinks, or hard drugs. Pauline and Juliet bond over shared experiences of being sick children and parents who misunderstand them, but when their friendship reaches its all time high and the obsession becomes too real, the movie takes a fantastic, dark turn.
Weaving in and out of reality and fantasy, the film navigates through the early attachments that form in a new friendship, just intensified in this example. It’s important to follow the exaggerated example Peter Jackson lays out of obsession and latching onto a new friend, because as extreme as it is, it encapsulates the dynamic that is formed out of wanting to be around someone all the time.
Codependent, collaborative, and complex, the friendship between Pauline and Juliet brings light to the special bond that forms between friends, but the dangerous nature of forming a toxic friendship quickly.
It is the onscreen debut for both Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey and their performances are brilliant. The blur of reality and fantasy are fluid and rough all at once, the dialogue is witty and ridiculous, and the stylistic choice director Peter Jackson makes stabilizes this film into its position as a campy, cult film.
Another fun fact about this film is that it is based strongly off of the true story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme who acted out their disillusioned plans to murder anyone who stood in the way of their happiness and love for one another. Highlighting obsessive behaviors, loneliness, codependency, and the extremes of friendships, Heavenly Creatures is definitely worth watching and using for self-reflection.
This film is very special and dynamic in its approach to depicting female friendship on screen. One of the unique structures in setting and narrative, Girl, Interrupted takes place inside the walls of a mental institution. It delivers strong performances from each of the actresses in the main roles, which help mold the various relationships that occur between women.
Although the women are patients in a mental hospital, the relationships between each of them parallel and mirror any high school. There is an intense sense of trust or lack of, manipulation of character and feelings, fear, insecurity, and other examples of feelings women experience in relation to one another.
The characters include Susanna, the protagonist and navigator through the narrative, Lisa who is a diagnosed sociopath and self-proclaimed leader of the girls, Daisy who suffers from an eating disorder and is fearful of the world outside, Georgina who is Susanna’s roommate and a pathological liar, Polly who appears to take on the mentality of a child and suffers from severe burn scars after self-igniting, Janet who suffers from anorexia and is a former ballerina, and Cynthia who is mentally challenged and identified as a lesbian. Drastically different in most aspects, the women still share something that can only be held between them; they are all in the hospital and they are all “sick.”
The friendships develop quite quickly and create a codependence between the women, especially between Susanna and Lisa. In a moment when Lisa is removed from the hospital and doesn’t return, Susanna appears to be depressed, suggesting that she does need Lisa around regardless of her behavior and lack of empathy.
After multiple incidents of Lisa’s manipulation and cruelty towards the other women, Susanna proceeds to stand up to her, which leads to her ultimately cracking her tough, guarded persona. The dynamics between each of the characters can appear bizarre and oddly intense, but it must be understood that they are not well and their perception of love and affection may be skewed.
However, there are very raw and passionate examples of friendship throughout the film’s duration, and the film ends on a solid note to capturing and understanding the relations between women.
Female friendship on screen or in real life can encounter challenges within the structure of the friendship that friendships between men may never see. In this film, two friends run into a complex situation that puts their friendship to the test. Otilia and Gabriela are friends who attend university together in 1987 Communist Romania. When Gabriela reveals that she is pregnant and wants to have an abortion, the two devise a plan to arrange an illegal abortion.
When they hire a man by the name of Mr. Bebe to perform the procedure, they work together to set up the hotel and get the money necessary. Otilia reaches out to her boyfriend to borrow money for Gabriela and returns to find out the hotel was not properly booked. Finding another option, the two prepare for Mr. Bebe. Irate that the original plan is not active, Mr. Bebe threatens to leave which leads to the two women engaging in compromising acts with him.
Tests to the friendship keep arising through revelations of information that Gabriela withheld from Otilia, negligence of other relationships in their lives, the tension that comes from the risk of the action, and the intensity of how much they rely on each other. Lies, anger, fear, etc. are all factors that could end any relationship, whether that is a friend or not, but it is in the trials endured that Otilia and Gabriela develop a stronger bond that seemingly will not be broken as the film concludes.
One of the most organic and pure examples of female friendship on screen can be seen in this film. The story of two best friends who were considered misfits in high school and preserve their friendship through adulthood as they live together in California. The two support each other in multiple aspects from emotional, financial, etc. and are dependent on their companionship. Romy, is the more levelheaded of the two with a job and ambition to do more and be better.
Michele, on the other hand, is unemployed, aspiring to be a fashion designer, extremely naïve, loyal, and free-spirited, but together they fit. One day when Romy hears about her high school’s ten year reunion, she rushes home to convince Michele that they should attend and reinvent themselves to prove to their tormenters that they made it. Reluctant at first, Michele agrees and the two fabricate the last decade of their lives.
The desire to prove themselves and find some significance in their lives through this fake persona ends up compromising the one thing that meant everything to both of them: friendship. A major fight between them creates an uncomfortable tension and anxiety within the scenes where they exist without one another and try to carry on not acknowledging that they are both visibly hurt by the disagreement.
Once they resolve the problem and agree that everything they have together was enough, they are able to enjoy the reunion and truly cherish the brilliance and beauty of their friendship.
Notably one of the most influential films in cinema and arguably one of the best road films, it also holds a pretty high spot on the list of great female friendship films. As one of the best representations of strong women and the concept of the dynamic duo, Thelma and Louise illustrate the story of two friends who set out to find freedom and solace from their mundane lives.
Louise takes on the role as the caretaker and the voice of reason, where Thelma is a little more naïve and susceptible to being treated poorly. After they set out on their journey, the two run into a dangerous and traumatizing situation that propels the film into a fast pace excursion and refuge.
The friendship that Thelma and Louise have established works off of two key ingredients: loyalty and love. Regardless of what one might do to neglect their trip or their safety, no matter how angry they may become at one another, or the future they have created for themselves after multiple decisions, they remain by each other’s sides and fight for love, rather than turn their back on it.
Their friendship is complex and tense and a reflection of their relationships with the various male characters in the film that fit a cookie-cutter mold. In a world where men are men and women are women but in the rule-abiding, male accompaniment, the two find their inner strength and beauty through the reflection in each other’s eyes. In a “if we go down, we go down together” fashion, Thelma and Louise encapsulate the beautiful, unstated contract forever friends write together.
Pulling away from the positive examples of female friendship and the greatness of it all, this film depicts the story of toxic friendships, which are quite common and exist everywhere. Capturing the psychological experiences that are associated with toxic people, especially best friends, Me Without You, follows these moments from childhood through adulthood. The friendship between Holly and Marina starts at age 12 and follows them for roughly 28 years.
Holly is a Jewish girl who lives with a conservative mother, whereas Marina lives in a lenient household allowing her to do her own thing. The two become friends as they are neighbors and develop a very strong connection quickly.
Holly develops a crush on Marina’s older brother Nat which stirs up jealousy in Marina. In different stages of their friendship, Holly is seen as heavily influenced by Marina and often it is Marina and her actions that dictate the state of their friendship. After multiple instances where Marina displayed selfishness and lack of consideration for Holly or their friendship, Holly confronts Marina and declares that she can no longer be her friend. Marina exclaims “there is no me without you,” but Holly leaves anyways.
Years later, they are shown to be civil and friendly but for the sake of their two daughters who appear to be best friends. The toxicity of their friendship is wrapped up in that one line “there is no me without you.” That kind of codependence resonates with that of an addict or consistently abused spouse, but it is the one who both created that need and who damaged it that cries for help.
The film is raw and true, which makes the relationship between Holly and Marina hard to deal with sometimes, but like a car crash, it becomes hard to look away when tragedy is in reach.
A narrative structure that involves two stories varying in location, time, and characters, this film works to tell the tale of significance of support, unconditional love, and companionship through the relationships of four women.
The first story of friendship comes from the relationship established between Ruth and Idgie. After the death of Idgie’s older brother and Ruth’s boyfriend, Buddy, the two develop a deep attachment to one another through resistance and understanding.
Through monumental changes and decisions in their lives, they eventually vow to always stick together and Idgie makes it clear she will always take care of Ruth, no matter what. Although their friendship borders a fine line between romantic and platonic, it always remains platonic and immensely pure. Life lessons are exchanged between the two and their incredible devotion to one another influences the development of the second friendship between Evelyn and Ninny.
Evelyn and Ninny spark a friendship in present day when Evelyn meets Ninny in a retirement home. Ninny’s immediate interest in Evelyn suggests that she is alone and doesn’t have many people to converse with, but also highlights her energetic spirit and love of storytelling. As she begins to tell Evelyn the story of Ruth and Idgie, the two become closer and inseparable.
The stories of Ruth and Idgie and Ninny’s encouragement, sparks a revelation within Evelyn of her self-worth and significance creating a new confidence in her. She decides that like Idgie vowed to take care of Ruth, she is going to take care of Ninny and she ends up freeing her from the home.
The film tackles domestic abuse, racism, sexism, single motherhood, death, sacrifice, and honor in relationship to the two pairs of friends and the obstacles that are constructed through these topics are never threatening but supplemental.
Persona is a strange film to use when talking about female friendship on screen, but it’s worth it. The dynamic between Alma, a young nurse and Elisabet, an actress who has become mute without any reason is very bizarre and complex.
Alma is assigned to take care of Elisabet who has no medical diagnosis for her inability to speak, so the two set out to spend some solitude in the medical administrator’s beach house. Alma works diligently to spark an interest in Elisabet and possibly some form of communication beyond her blank stares.
Sharing personal stories about her fiancé and her unhappiness within their relationship, Alma develops a fascination and interest in becoming closer to Elisabet. When Alma reads a letter Elisabet has written to her husband, she discovers that Elisabet has been studying her like a character and Alma becomes distraught sending her into a rage attack on Elisabet. The two fight over the letter and Elisabet’s rejection of Alma’s help and friendship.
It’s clear that there is no acquaintance or friendship that has developed between the two, but there is a very interesting relationship that is present. A reflection of each other, their desires, their fears, their secrets, etc. shows that the two are just trying to be someone different than who they are. They see stark difference in one another which brews the tension between them, however they are virtually very similar and alike in their endeavors and beliefs.
Self-awareness becomes apparent after the two create scenarios that require the other to sit with themselves and the things they have done or said for awhile, and other realizations surface as the film concludes. Alma and Elisabet would not be classified by conventional standards as friends, but there is a very important and distinct relationship between the two women that should be noted when referencing female friendship in cinema.
Oh, Beaches. One of the most iconic friendship films in the history of cinema, Beaches narrates the story of a 30 year friendship between two very different women. C.C. Bloom and Hillary Whitney become friends by a chance meeting when they are kids in 1958. It is visually apparent that they come from two totally separate walks of life, but their immediate excitement about one another kickstarts a lifelong friendship that isn’t always neat.
Following a mess of heartbreak, distance, jealousy, career changes, and divorce, C.C. and Hillary reunite and realize that they discovered themselves through their friendship, whether it was present or not.
From pen pals to roommates, best friends to enemies, and all of the rise and falls of most friendships, the two keep their words of being friends forever when Hillary falls ill and asks C.C. to take care of her and her daughter if anything is to happen. Realizing how selfish she has been and the effect it has on the people in her life, C.C. agrees to try and be a better person for the sake of Hillary’s daughter.
There is a strong sense of passion and love written in the narrative of this film. It is a story that has a Hollywood touch to it, but still feels natural and resonates with anyone who has that one person in their life who has been there and always will be, no matter what.
Funny, witty, brilliant, and a buddy film about women, Bridesmaids depicts the various stages of women in life and the different types of friendships you develop through those stages. Centered on the wedding of main character Annie’s best friend Lillian and the duties of being the Maid of Honor, this film delivers A+ comedy while tackling emotional moments between two best friends.
The characters range from Annie who is a creative baker who lost everything when her business went under, Lillian who is Annie’s best friend since childhood who has her life somewhat together and tries to follow the right thing to do, Helen who is Lillian’s friend through connections established from her fiance’s work, Rita who is Lillian’s married, cynical cousin who is suffocated by the fact that she is the mother to three boys and doesn’t live for herself anymore, Becca who is a naïve, Disney loving, idealist who is a newlywed in a marriage that appears unfulfilling, and of course, Megan who is the crude, confident, loud sister of Lillian’s fiancé, and the source of most of the comedic relief.
The strongest element of friendship in this film is the competition aspect that Annie fuels with her insecurities. The established, solid friendship between Annie and Lillian is threatened by Helen’s involvement in Lillian’s life and wedding. Annie’s financial status, loneliness, and codependence on Lillian create tension that erupts into event ruining and friendship straining problems.
The fact that Annie puts everything into her friendship with Lillian makes their fallout that much more painful than it typically would be, because when she loses her spot in the wedding and her only friend, everything is gone.
In the end, the film concludes with a strong sense of community between the bridesmaids and a clear cut understanding of their places and their importance is displayed. Relationships with other people are mended, formed, and developed through the concrete idea of friendship executed in this film, so it suggests the significance of female friendship on screen.
Now and Then is a coming of age film that centers on the events that occur one summer between four best friends. This film promotes the excellence of being rich in company of multiple friends, instead of one singular best friend.
The ups and downs of growing up, especially within a group of friends is captured within this film. With an all-star cast, Now and Then remains relevant to audience members and is accessible to any age, which helps close any generational gaps that might form when talking about friendships in different time periods.
The four friends include Samantha who narrates the film and is projected as the weird, science nerd who likes supernatural things, Roberta who is the resident tomboy who was raised by her father and older brothers, Tina aka “Teeny” is an only child who dreams of being a famous actress to supplement the lack of attention she receives at home, and Chrissy, who is the naïve, sheltered friend that is always worried about doing the right thing.
Varying in style, background, and personalities, the four girls still hold together a very strong friendship with one another. Although there are closer friendships broken into pairs between Roberta and Chrissy and also with Samantha and Teeny, the glue that holds that group together is their unconditional love for one another.
After years of being away from their hometown, Samantha and Teeny return to see the birth of Chrissy’s first born. Roberta became a doctor and stayed in the hometown. After recapping that summer and watching Chrissy give birth, the four friends vow to stay in touch and come back again sooner, because the time spent that summer changed their lives forever and without that they might not have had the success they all had individually.
Another film centric around a group of misfits, the Craft follows four high school girls who have a serious interest in witchcraft and practice the craft amongst themselves. Sarah, the fourth member of the group, moves to the area after she was involved in some trouble and initially shows that she possesses some natural power which the other girls pick up on.
The other girls are Nancy who is angry and power hungry but comes from a poor background, Bonnie who is sensitive and timid since she suffers from severe scarring on most of her body, and Rochelle who is continuously bullied for her race by the popular students at her school. During a ritual, the girls test out spells that are mainly directed at people who have tormented them in some way.
After the spells appear to be working, they take a turn for the worse and create issues within the group. Nancy’s desire to possess ultimate power results in an overwhelming greed which causes her to become apathetic towards everyone. This angers the other girls and Sarah decides to take charge and stop Nancy.
The dynamics within the group are typical to most high school cliques, however there is a very strong sense of tension between everyone. Power structures and positions are the biggest issues in their friendships, because the needs to not only possess authoritative positions, but to have the ability to control their lives and those involved is very detrimental.
There is a distinct latching on to anyone who can deliver hope and leadership which gets tossed between Nancy and Sarah, but ultimately when the group disassembles, it is only Bonnie and Rochelle who remain attached and bound by insecurities and inability to exist on their own.
14. All I Wanna Do (1998, Sarah Kernochan)
All I Wanna Do (also known as Strike! And The Hairy Bird) tells the history of the D.A.R (Daughters of American Ravioli), a fictional group of students at an all-girl boarding school, that organize a strike against the possible merging with the boys academy. An allegiance to being women and to the strong politics they believe in, six girls form a secret club where they are able to discuss their ambitions and opinions towards various subjects.
When Odette transfers to the school and meets the spunky, intelligent Verena and the promiscuous and rebellious Tinka, who welcome her into the group. There she meets uptight and rigid Abby, Tweety who suffers from bulimia but dreams to be a child psychologist when she is older, and Momo who is pegged as a science nerd.
After getting wind that there is a potential to merge the boys academy with their school and create a co-ed environment, the girls discuss the issue and eventually divide when they don’t all agree that it is a terrible idea. The girls who agree it is wrong plot against the boys and set up a situation where they end up having a bad reputation for “drinking” at their annual dance. The girls who were for it eventually change their minds when members from the boy’s academy torment them, and together the D.A.R work to overthrow the patriarchy.
The friendships between the girls, stems from feminist ideals and politics, and although they are all significantly different and have a stark difference in goals, they believe in change and the effort that is required to make that happen. The film focuses on the beauty and power of female union, and the elements of developing that solidified bond.
Heathers is an interesting film in its own right, but especially when talking about female friendship. A dark, comedic film, Heathers finds the humor in typical high school behaviors and relationality of parts between teenagers, but captures the disturbing truth of it all. Like most films that take place inside a high school, the focus is on the power structures within the different cliques.
The top clique of the school is known as the Heathers, which consists of a group of three girls named Heather and one recently added member named Veronica. Heather Chandler is the leader and most popular girl in school, Heather McNamara is a cheerleader but isn’t the smartest of the group and can find herself acting weak willed, Heather Duke is the brains of the three but is extremely insecure and suffers from bulimia, and the newest member Veronica Sawyer is a dark spirited, intelligent, sympathetic girl who becomes popular by association.
The girls are friends but very abusive and negligent to one another beyond being in the same group together. The cruelty is never warranted but always accepted, giving Heather Chandler full reign to continue being a nightmare to everyone in school. These dynamics are exemplified in multiple films that deal with high school or teenage friendships, because fear and insecurity are always the main factors, but it in this film that the harsh reality of how terrible these power structures are put on display.
When Veronica meets J.D. they hit it off and start plotting against the popular kids one by one. J.D. is a rebel and troubled teen who dresses to match his bad boy attitude. He latches onto Veronica’s innate darkness and the two begin a relationship together.
The angst, dysfunction, small town issues, and the importance of trends in high school is exaggerated through the clever dialogue and ridiculous acts that occur within the film, but it is very true to the spirit of high school in any generation. There will always be bullies, rebels, popular groups, jocks, and the misfits, but what this film does is lay out a minor platform of hope that just as those groups can rise to the top, they can quickly fall and someday they will.
After graduation Enid and Rebecca set out to take control of their lives and leave the world of high school behind them, but when Enid’s diploma is held back due to failing an art class, the pace slows down a bit. Enid is an angsty artist who is socially awkward but quick witted and honest. Rebecca, her best friend, is beautiful and a little more popular with the boys, but she also is more responsible in her decision making and opinions.
Taking place the summer after graduation, the girls come across a personal ad from a guy named Seymour who is looking for a woman he met once. Amused by how pathetic Seymour appears, they decided to arrange a meeting with him as a prank. After a calculated encounter with Seymour to purchase a record from him, Enid begins feeling sympathy towards him and eventually developing a friendship with him.
As she becomes more involved with Seymour, her friendship with Rebecca starts to fall apart and become distant, because Rebecca is making moves to improve her situation and grow up. Rebecca finds a job and an apartment that the two friends can ideally room together in, but when she pressures Enid to take a job at the local movie theater and she is fired after one shift, she quickly changes her mind and the two pull away from each other.
The humor in Ghost World keeps the audience distracted from the sadness of a friendship growing apart and ultimately ending. It’s a tale often told and executed in different ways, but the development of one character versus the other helps create the distance between the two friends that mirrors the real world separation they are experiencing within the film.
Their dynamic is cracked by subtle moments of negligence and deceit, but reflecting on their previous status as friends, they were always supportive, loyal, and attentive to each other, like best friends should.
This film is set as a romantic comedy, but the true love story involves three best friends in their late-20s to early-30s who are also roommates in San Francisco. Christina is a successful designer and a notorious player in the male community, Courtney is the divorce lawyer who takes on the role as the initiator and protector of the other two, and then there is Jane is more reserved and emotional compared to the others.
From the start of the film they are seen comforting and consoling Jane after a recent break up, and immediately drop their original plans to make sure Jane has a good night. Adventures continue as Christina and Courtney set out to find the guy that Christina bumped into at the club. One after another there are obstacles and tests thrown their way, but no matter what, they still have fun and still stick together.
There is a very particular differential from The Sweetest Thing and other friendship films/romantic comedies; the things that occur in the film would normally split up a group of friends, but it actually brings them together. Sex, new relationships, and careers are no match for the triple threat of friends.
Another film that centers around the critical time of being in high school, Blue is the Warmest Color follows Adele who is introduced as a teenager who is visibly confused about her sexuality as she experiments with a male classmate and is unsatisfied, has a vivid sex dream with a strange woman as the subject, and an odd interaction with a female friend who ends up kisses her and showing minimal interest.
A bit of an introvert, Adele surrounds herself with a group of girls who are constantly nagging her about her personal life and the details involving it. The only source of understanding and acceptance that doesn’t feel manufactured or by association is through her friend Valentin, who is an openly gay male student. After Adele goes out to the gay bars with Valentin, she runs into the mysterious woman in her dreams and sparks up a conversation with the woman.
Emma, an older college level student picks up on the obvious attraction and keeps the conversation going and digs deeper to find more out about Adele. The two eventually start hanging out more and developing a deep attachment to one another. Adele’s high school friends harass her about Emma and torment her with public humiliation about being a lesbian, leading Adele to be kicked out of the group.
The blossoming friendship between Adele and Emma grows with intensity and results in a highly sexual and romantic relationship. Transitioning from friends to lovers, the two still maintain the foundation characteristics of their friendship. They love unconditionally, intrigue each other, inspire one another, learn from each other, and always remain passionate.
The basis of friends first drives the narrative through multiple years in their relationship including breakups, reunions, disappointments, etc. That dynamic is what propels the beautiful story of Blue is the Warmest Color and is what keeps their pure, genuine love alive regardless of the situation or status of their relationship.
A significantly more mild version of Heathers, Mean Girls focuses on the cruelty between girls in high school. Rumor spreading, clique wars, rejection, and plenty of other terrible things are all the daily activities of most teenage girls, but especially the head group known as the Plastics.
The writers of a malicious “Burn Book”, the Plastics rule the school by instilling fear into the other girls. The superiority complex invested in the three girls, Regina, Gretchen, and Karen immediately distances the rest of the female body of students, including some faculty.
Their dynamic is clear cut: Regina is the leader, whereas Gretchen and Karen are her faithful followers. When the group invites new student Cady into their group, a shift in power occurs creating an immense amount of tension. As Cady aligns herself with the outcasts and plots to overthrow Regina as a revenge ploy, the relationships within the Plastics start to become strained and messy.
This change in behavior and reception of Regina spills over into the school’s dynamic which creates even more anxiety in Regina. What Mean Girls captures that most high school films fall short of is the various perspectives of individuals from the different tiers of popularity. Rather than brush over the lower level girls, the film gives them an opportunity to speak about their position and the pain they’ve endured from the cruelty.
It also shows that the power and the meanness doesn’t just sit at the top, because the other girls in the school are just as guilty in the jealousy, deceit, bitchiness, and participation in treating each other poorly. Female friendship is complicated and hard to understand, especially in teenage girls, but Mean Girls uses clever writing, great acting, and real problems to reveal to audience members the truth of it all.
Think Freaky Friday but raunchier and totally out of the blue involving two strangers and you’ve got the Hot Chick. The reason this film is great to analyze female friendship is the dynamic between Jessica and her three close friends, especially when it becomes apparent that she needs them. A cheesy comedy with stock Rob Schneider comedy, The Hot Chick actually provides a great understanding of teenage friendships between girls and the importance of respecting one another in that core group.
Jessica’s character is your stereotypical mean girl who seemingly has it all, and with that persona she is the head of her cheerleading squad and the leader of her pack of four friends. Her three friends April, Keecia, and Lulu are her shopping buddies, party pals, and stepping stones to making it further on top.
April considers Jessica her best friend and the history they have together spans over approximately a decade. However, no matter how devoted to their friend the girls are, they still have some animosity towards her since she usually neglects their feelings.
When Jessica has a freak switch of bodies with a criminal named Clive, she is put into a position that requires all the support she can get from her friends. After convincing the girls that she’s really Jessica, they work to find out how this could happen, in the true friend fashion. Recruiting help from two girls Jessica tormented when she was in her natural form, Jessica starts to value everyone around her and develop a sense of how terrible she was towards people.
It strengthens her relationship with all of the girls, her boyfriend, and her family when she returns back to her body and has a revelation that she needs to become a better person. The friendships become mutually supportive, considerate, and ideal after the events of the movie, which still follows the linear narrative of most high school films where the mean girl/guy has some catastrophic event happen to them and through the help of their friends, they become a better person.
This post originally appeared here.