Girlhood | A Film That Left Us Nostalgic – And Wanting More

by Madison N Nunes

We all have those girls we’re especially tight with. They’re the ones we can always rely on to be there, to be honest and fair.

That heartwarming motif is what I thought director Celine Sciamma ( Water Lillies, Tomboy ) would cast a fresh, new light upon in her french film Girlhood. To my disappointment that was not the case: Mareme ( actress Karidja Touré )  feels suffocated by her family setting, her lackluster grades, and the boys club that rules her inner city neighborhood. Her overprotective brother is abusive. The boy she likes is being coy. Unable to enjoy her life, she takes up with three wild girls. She is accepted by them in a way that she has never been accepted before. Mareme changes her general attitude until she eventually drops out of school, spending all of her time with her new “sisters.” Everything is seemingly on the up and up.

However, Mareme’s life doesn’t exactly stay on the straight and narrow. After her aggressive brother slut shames her, she decides to finally leave home. A local drug dealer offers her a position selling for him in a “better” neighborhood and Mareme accepts. Parting with her friends she moves in with a prostitute and sells until she just can’t anymore. She returns home one night after a failed party only to decide that isn’t the lifestyle she wants either. 

Girlhood is shot so each scene has its full aesthetic potential. However, the plot line spends a vast time developing camaraderie  between the four girls that it seems sudden and almost forced when it shifts to being all about Mareme. The director uses most of her screen time as well as audience attention span to tell the story of an entire group of inner city girls who have bonded together through relatable lifestyles. Then it suddenly switches. At that far into the film it felt like Mareme was being used to elongate the run time of the film ( which is 112 minutes ) more than to tell a story of actual girlhood. 

It is disappointing that Sciamma didn’t shed that so hoped for light on the hardships of growing up, but it does serve as a good time filler. The movie is lengthy which is just long enough for you to A.) make-out  B.) procrastinate work C.) Shazam the entire soundtrack which hosts Light Asylum, Para One, and Rihanna. 

Girlhood will be released Friday, January 29th. Let us know if you’ll be going and what you thought! 

Images c/o Google, IMDB

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