Good concept, poorly executed.
This is one of the few movies I've ever seen where the whole audience broke into spontaneous, loud applause a third of the way in.
It's a good bad... and worth a popcorn matinée. While it's easy to lament what could have been...
There are moments in this movie where the great movie it could've been peek out... They're fleeting, here, but they're worth savoring, and they happen often enough to make it worth your while.
Emotionally complex. A great, realistic portrayal of the challenges of a troubled family life and of love and friendship. People make mistakes, and mistakes have to be forgiven, is what this movie seems to say. This movie will have you laughing, crying, suspicious, angry and happy until the very end. It didn't really seem to me that the girls actually made a pact. That would be my main complaint about the plot. They did talk about losing their virginity, but didn't really make any plans. Other than that, a really good movie.
A British film critic always used to say that French cinema effortlessly produce movies examining the mores of middle class family life which can be introspective, insightful and amusing. Everyone else struggles to repeat this.Very Good Girls stars Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning as two middle class New Yorkers who want to lose their virginity during their last summer before embarking on their college years.Olsen's parents seem to be outgoing and more and they are played by Richard Dreyfuss and Demi Moore. Fanning's parents are a little more reserved but there is also friction as their dad has been caught cheating. Ellen Barkin plays the brittle mum and Clark Gregg takes time out from superhero movies.Both girls fall for an ice cream seller in Brighton Beach and budding artist/photographer played by Boyd Holbrook. Fanning makes out with him but later cools off and pushes him towards Olsen when Olsen faces a sudden family crisis. Fanning then has an older, predatory love interest.The film has a female writer and director but you would not actually think that if you see the film. There is nothing interesting about these two teenage girls, I did not like them or cared much about them. The two set of parents were more interesting but they were broadly drawn and wasted with what amounted as cameos.The story is not strong, interesting, edgy or even focused. It wants to be a continental European coming of age drama and fails.
Very Good Girls is the worst kind of film in the regard that its poster and trailer allude to the idea that it will be covering loftier subjects in the realm of teen angst, but it isn't until one finally sees the film that they realize that every preconceived notion they had about the film turned out to be a product of wishful, optimistic thinking. Very Good Girls is a tiresome retread of clichés and sterile filmmaking, one without wit or insight into the life of a teenager, and constructing characters out of thin, threadbare personality traits without ever giving them opportunities to expand into something greater.It doesn't stop there; it also places two strong talents at the core of its mediocrity. One of whom is Elizabeth Olsen, who has been on a roll with such fantastic films that she really doesn't have time for a film like this. Alongside Olsen is Dakota Fanning, a considerably successful child actor who has had a rather rough time finding adult roles now that she has moved on from her childhood career. The two play best friends Lily and Gerry, both of whom home for one last summer in their homestate of New York. Upset that they are practically the only two people who still hold their virginity, they make a pact to lose it before leaving for college. After a day at the beach, they fall in love with the first guy they say, a misunderstood, crabby soul by the name of David (Boyd Holbrook) who, despite his surly attitude when they first meet, turns out to be a quietly romantic guy, who enjoys poetry. The two begin the long, tireless task of trying to maintain a relationship with this guy behind each others back, while occasionally returning home to fight or disagree with their parents, where the film misses another bold opportunity at characterization.To begin with, we already know so desperately little about Lily or Gerry other than they're attractive, life-long collegians who are virgins and detest the fact they are virgins. Other than that, they are as vacant as characters can be, and given this film was written and directed by a female begs the question why Naomi Foner didn't take the route of humanizing her characters. In a sea of films that seem to get adolescents wrong, particularly the females, Foner had a chance to develop female characters rich with feelings and ideas, but instead opts for them to have nothing more on their mind than some personally-lacking blonde guy who they fall head over heals in lust with for reasons never truly outlined. If a male had written and directed this film, we'd be deploring every grating opportunity to simplify these characters into outlets striving for basic human gratification and nothing more.As stated before, even Lily and Gerry's parents have no personality to speak of, with Lily's parents having a more hardened, regressive attitude and Gerry's being more loose and liberal. Conversations between the girls and their parents last for no longer than two minutes and bear nothing in the way of identification but rather patient-testing oversimplification. Nobody in this film has an identity, and as a film about the sexual awakening of two lifelong best friends, I don't think it's wrong to expect a film that would be something in the way of deep and contemplative.Very Good Girls is, in some ways, a poor man's version of the brilliant Norwegian film Turn Me On, Dammit!, which concerned a fifteen-year-old girl experiencing a rampant sexual awakening, full of dirty fantasies and prolific masturbation. The film showed the darker side of adolescent sexuality in a blatant manner, never sugarcoating or shortchanging and always looking to humanize and provide a lens of empathy and understanding. Very Good Girls, in comparison and on its own, is an abysmal display of emptiness in one of its most contemptible forms.Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, and Boyd Holbrook. Directed by: Naomi Foner.
Very Good Girls is a coming of age story that touches on friendship, family, love and discovering when it's okay to indulge in yourself. Nothing new there, amIright? The mood is set fairly early on, kicking off the 'best friends forever' feel.Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning have great chemistry, and there is nothing stopping you from believing that they truly are best friends, which really plays into the story when you witness a 'betrayal' of some kind. Although you fall in love with the sweetness of the romance that blossoms you cannot help but 'tisk, tisk' at the surreptitious actions of this 'friend.'The movie keeps your attention all throughout it although you're not sure what you want to come of the story. The build up to the ending is perfectly paced and the performances are spectacular. Dakota Fanning delivers yet again and Elizabeth Olsen is letting it known that she is an actress to reckon with. 7.4/10