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Career girls opens with a train journey towards London's Kings Cross where Annie, one of the major characters is about to meet her old university friend Hannah. She recalls moving into a grotty student flat with Hannah in the mid-eighties. In those days Annie was self conscious and jumpy. The pair have not seen one another since graduation. They both now have moderately successful careers and are, at least on the surface, self assured in their new lives. However, they are still carrying a lot of emotional baggage from their university days. During the course of a weekend they rediscover their close friendship and encounter many faces from the past. Written by
Yes, this film has been panned by many, but in my view Mike Leigh was near top form again with this absorbing and moving film. The late, great Katrin Cartlidge puts in an excellent performance. Dreadfully sorry to learn that such a talented young stage and screen actress has died. Lynda Steadman is also superb.
The film is partly in flashback to college days in the 1980s and partly set in the "present" of the 1990s. I see the exaggerated twitching and accents of the characters in the 1980s scenes as part of the flashback genre. Perhaps I went to University with exceptionally twitchy people, or perhaps the memory pitches college-days memories at 30 frames-per-second, but my own "flashbacks" to such times feel a bit like that. I thought it was intriguing cinematography, but the majority seems to be against me.
Where the film does grate a little is in the coincidences that lead them to run in to their past several times. Two of the coincidences are necessary for the plot and interest. One seems like "a coincidence too many" and it goes nowhere - maybe there was an intended plot thread that got dropped - well the coincidence should also have been dropped in that case.
It's a short film and it held our attention from start to finish. Not Mike Leigh's very best film, but well worth seeing.
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