Mike ("Secrets and Lies") Leigh's new film "Career Girls" deals with one of those fleeting moments that pass between friends -- the realization of the depth of their unique bond. In this case, the bond is between college roommates Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (Lynda Steadman). Having not seen each other for six years, the two meet up in London to catch up on old times.
Leigh's film plays like a druggie's tall tale, ending, for all intents and purposes, with the predictable "well, I guess you just had to be there." Leigh tells the story with flashbacks, going back to the women's college days when Hannah was a complete psychotic and Annie was a shy girl with a really bad skin problem that looked like a make-up guy had an epileptic fit.
Apparently, this recollection of the good old days is supposed to be interesting. It's not. There's no readily apparent story to hold the audience's attention. We already know that Hannah and Annie are friends and that they've been apart for some time. The "plot" consists of them staring at each other thinking that they should have reunited much sooner. They cry. They hug. We're supposed to be affected by this unlikely friendship. If Hannah's best buddy were a talking hyena I might have been affected, but her friendship with Annie isn't interesting enough to support a two-hour film.
Ultimately, this film is too feminine. Women spend way too much time sitting around and pondering their lives. Leigh, for his part, must be wanting to get in touch with his feminine side because, as a strange, weird-looking little man, getting in touch with his masculine side wouldn't be practical. If Hannah and Annie had been men they'd have run into each other, bumped chests, talked football and gone their separate ways. Then instead of ninety minutes, the movie would have been a refreshing ninety seconds and I would have been saved the hassle of pondering all the little things I didn't do in my life.
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