Home Young Programmer, Lucy Grayson explores the representation of female friendship on screen in HOME’s latest film mini-season School’s Out.
Genuine portrayals of relatable and lifelike female friendships on screen were at one point considered few and far between, but over time we’ve seen an increase in interest to tell these stories in cinema that have been executed so very well and to great acclaim, on TV. Films like Frances Ha and Thelma and Louise break the mold, they depict friendships in their truest form, full of heart and each harnessing a bond not easily broken, and despite the circumstances and consequences, and they have each other’s backs always. Quite literally ‘ride or die’.
Gurinder Chadha’s Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is based on a popular Young Adult fiction series about a girl and the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, it does have some rather charming and somewhat unfortunately relatable moments. Georgia (Georgia Groome) and her closest friends, the ‘Ace Gang’, are completely absorbed and preoccupied with their looks, social status and boys, powered by lots of innocence and naivety. Our girl has her eyes on the prize, Robbie (played by a very young and beardless Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and will to great lengths to obtain him, even if it’s at the cost of her friendships which isn’t completely unusual at this age, we’ve probably all done it. We see Georgia and her ‘bestie’ Jas’ (Eleanor Tomlinson) friendship on the rocks as they come to blows over boys and the rather minor differences they have. Despite the pettiness and bitchiness, the girls always find a way back to each other. It’s one of those films that make you cringe with reminiscence of high school, thanking god that it’s over but still having your girls by your side.
Clueless has a completely different vibe, a seemingly more positive but rather exaggerated take on high school friendships. Amy Heckling’s classic has gained cult status since its release in 1995, and still tops all the “best female lead” lists and beyond. It’s a strong and empowering look at women and their relationship with each other. We follow fashion icon Cher (Alicia Silverstone) navigate school with a sophisticated cool we all deeply wish we had, and all the drama that follows being a teenager. Cher is almost oblivious to these pressures, her friends are at the forefront and she even goes out of her way to include Tai into to the circle that she’s fiercely protective of. Even after their little spats, they have teary-eyed heartfelt “I love you more” face-offs finished off with lots of hugs and compliments, which is, let’s be honest, a crucial part of bonding! They don’t rely on the validation of men and obviously, they care about their appearance but it’s more of a celebration of femininity in young women and how they are empowered by the choices they make, even if it is picking out a matching tartan outfit. Through their relationship with each other, they’re encouraged to be the best versions of themselves.