This Chick’s Flicks: Female Friendships in FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL & BACHELORETTE
First-timers should pause here and read the This Chick’s Flicks definitional piece first. To the rest of you, I say, as Henry V said to his comrades-in-arms at Harfleur: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends….”
One of my favorite things about chick flicks is the shared emotional experience they provide the viewer. As they are targeted at women, chick flicks often center around a common, female life-experience, such as pining after the guy, getting the guy, losing the guy, first kisses, first times, having a baby, the motherhood, etc. Because many of us have lived something like what’s occurring on screen, we can empathize and emotionally engage with the characters. This connection allows the viewer to learn something, often about themselves, from the film.
Some chick flicks take on a subject that is near and dear to my heart: the dynamics of female friendship. Among my favorites are (in alphabetical order): All I Wanna Do, Bridesmaids, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The First Wives Club, Mean Girls, Now and Then, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.
One movie opening in theaters today (August 31), For a Good Time, Call…, and another opening a week from today (September 7), Bachelorette, tackle this topic in manners quite unlike their predecessors.
Though extraordinarily different from each other, both movies star well-developed female characters and aptly portray the ups and downs of girls’ friendships. Without spoiling too much, and indeed without naming the movie to which I’m referring (though it may be obvious in some cases), I’d like to share some of the lessons I took away from For a Good Time, Call… and Bachelorette.
A friend’s wedding day is her day…
…so if you need to be a bitch to someone to get her exactly what she wants, just f*cking do it! If she’s a good friend, she’ll return the favor on your special day.
It is often hard for women to be 100% happy for a friend when something good happens to her.
Obviously, when something good happens to a friend, most of us are happy for them. But frequently, I think, we’re secretly (or, in some cases, not so secretly) only about 70% happy for them. The other 30% of our emotional capacity is doing battle with that nagging voice in the back of our head, screaming at us: “Why isn’t it me?!” or “Where do I fit into her new life?” (To give credit where credit is due, Bridesmaids did an incredible job of highlighting this less-than-desirable aspect of female friendships.)
If you care about your friend at all, suck it up and be there for her. There will be bumps in the road on the way to her happy place and she’ll need to know that you’re walking behind her.
When a friend is down, help her up first, and judge her later.
You are welcome to the opinion that your friend is being stupid, has needlessly put herself in the way of emotional harm, or the like. But no matter what a friend has said or done, the most important qualities of friendship are love and loyalty. There is a time for honesty and (quite frankly) judgment, but usually it’s not the moment of first admission or discovery. Even if she’s been a total bitch to you, be the rock that your friend needs first, and wag your finger later. (For an excellent example of this, see Maggie Gyllenhaal towards the end of another movie starring Kirsten Dunst, Mona Lisa Smile.)
Hurtful words spoken cannot be unsaid (or unheard)–but, if you’re lucky, they can be forgiven.
In moments of anger, many of us have the tendency to bring up those things we know will deliver the maximum amount of hurt. We almost always regret it as soon as we’ve said it, but we can’t take it back, no matter how much we want to. The true test of a friendship’s mettle is whether it can withstand such blows, and the strength of the relationship that is left when the storm has blown over. If your friendship emerges stronger than before, you’ve got yourself a keeper.
So ladies, I urge you to gather your best gal pals and head to the theaters to see For a Good Time, Call… this weekend and Bachelorette next weekend. Afterward, patronize your favorite bar (a.k.a. the closest bar where you can get a table–after all, those shoes look great, but they’re hardly a picnic to walk or stand in), order some drinks and late night snacks, and discuss what you learned from the besties you met at the movies that night.
Have you seen For a Good Time, Call… and/or Bachelorette? Tell me what you learned about female friendships in a comment below!
Want more chick flicks?
Stay tuned to Screen Invasion for This Chick’s Flicks posts on chick flicks of now and then.
For a Good Time, Call… photos: © 2012 Focus Features; Bachelorette photos: © 2012 – RADiUS-TWC; The First Wives Club photo: © 1996-Paramount Pictures.