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Festivale Spring 1997

Career Girls

This is one of the funniest films I've seen in a while. Not pratfall-vaudeville-slapstick funny but the kind of funny that comes from keen observation of people and an immensely talented use of dialogue to highlight the personalities of the characters.

Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (Lynda Steadman) are two 'career girls' who flatted together while at Uni in the eighties. After a six year hiatus in the relationship, Annie returns to London to visit Hannah. At first, both are unlikeable characters. Hannah is brittle and arch, Annie is subdued and too nice for words.

Hannah and Annie have dinner, inspect expensive flats that neither of them has the money to buy and revisit their old stomping grounds. While doing this, they coincidentally meet people from their past - an old, inconsiderate lover and two former flat-mates. There's also a humourous encounter with a sleazy, social climbing coke-head cockney with an apartment only Bob Guiccione could love.

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Through the dialogue and use of meaningful flashbacks, Leigh counteracts the first impressions of Hannah and Annie. He shows why the two women are as they are, and who they were ten years before when they first met.

Rarely has a movie shown in depth the emotional and psychological changes a person goes through between the ages of twenty and thirty. Hannah ten years ago was arch, flippant, off-putting and impatient with everything. Annie was disfigured by a facial rash and painfully withdrawn.

Without overdramatising the reasons why the characters are like this, Leigh has them explain obliquely how their childhoods formed them.

As I said, the movie is funny and poignant and doesn't ring a false note anywhere. The acting is so spot-on in all cases that it's sometimes painful to watch the actors. Apart from Cartlidge and Steadman, Mark Benton as Ricky is brilliant.

buyreel.jpg - 5045 Bytes Definitely worth seeing.

Terry Frost

11 September 1997.

Enter movie, TV show, or person
Provided by Internet Movie Database.
Just the facts:

Title: Career Girls
Written by:
Mike Leigh
Directed by: Mike Leigh
Produced by: Simon Channing-Williams
Edited by Robin Sales
Director of Photography: Robin Sales

The Players: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman.
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