By: Olivia Call
The Premiere section of Sundance 2013 included films that had a seemingly larger budget and usually carried the names of Hollywood actors to gain the attention of audiences. Very Good Girls was one of the 18 films that was presented in the Premiere section. Directed and screenwritten by Naomi Foner, Very Good Girls followed the lives of two best friends, Lilly and Gerry, and their adventures one summer. The girls had two opposite personalities that hoped to never end up in a compromising position that would ruin their friendship. While Lilly was reserved and followed the rules, Gerry was free-spirited and took any risk she put her mind to. Both girls had problems at home and assumed they could handle anything that got in the way of their friendship. It was not until David, an artistic and mysterious older man, showed up into their lives and swept both girls off their feet. Although defiant at first, Lilly was the girl who won the attention of David, but never had the confidence to tell Gerry about the secret affair. Very Good Girls covered the trouble teenagers had as they reached the brink of adulthood and how they handled situations they both could and could not control.
Very Good Girls was the most mainstream movie I viewed at the festival, and would rate a 2 on the independent vs. mainstream spectrum. The reasoning for a 2 instead of a 1 would be because of the interesting way sex was portrayed in the film that had not been seen in mainstream theaters. While the storyline remained a stereotypical tale of best friends, the mentality about sex the girls had shown the independent mind of the director. In mainstream films it had always been men who yearn to throw away their virginity, but Lilly and Gerry took on mentality of the boys and viewed their virginity as a burden rather than a blessing. Lilly’s complaints about going to college a virgin was what foreshadowed her quick decision to make David her first experience. Mainstream movies of a characters first sexual experience are usually covered with romantic ideas of candles, flowers, and beautiful music. Very Good Girls took a very different version by having David and Lilly make love in a dirty garage while playing a song about letting men win and get what they want. If all the confidence about sex was more reserved and less blatant, the film would become 100% mainstream.
Lilly and Gerry’s personalities also showed the myths of the film. It become ironic that Lilly was quieter about her life even though she was having the most instances occur. Gerry was a more verbal girl and was always talking about the things she wanted, but was not getting. Usually people boast about falling for someone, but Lilly lived in a realistic myth where she always accepted the fact the David would eventually disappear from her life. Gerry lived in the fantasy of myth where not only did she create fairy tales in her mind about things that were not going to happen, but also distracted herself to a point where she never accepted the death of her father. The suburban lifestyle these girls were living in forced them to fake a smile and go about with their lives even though they were falling apart. The quick location changes added to the notice of myth as well. When the girls were home with their families they were in the beautiful and safe suburb, but once they went out of their comfort zone, or saw David, the setting of the film would change to the dark and dirty corners of New York. At one point the audience saw that David’s barriers were higher once the streets of the suburb began, showing his own personal myth that fears settling down to a certain lifestyle, therefore foreshadowing his spontaneous escape to France. Very Good Girls was a more emotional storyline and rather than creating a complicating storyline, the film was simple and predictable so the audience main focus was the emotions of the characters over everything else.