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Very Good Girls (2013)

R  |   |  Drama  |  24 June 2014 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 7,026 users   Metascore: 35/100
Reviews: 19 user | 27 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

Two New York City girls make a pact to lose their virginity during their first summer out of high school. When they both fall for the same street artist, the friends find their connection tested for the first time.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Beach Boy
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Beach Boy
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David
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Norma
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Phoebe
Roslyn Curry ...
Joy
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Danny
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Karl
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Fitzsimmons
Brandin Steffesen ...
Dancer
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Storyline

The summer before college presents two best friends, Lilly and Gerri, with the opportunity to shed their good girl images. Both girls want to lose their virginity and explore another side of who they are. But their dark and different home lives and the introduction of two bad boys, threaten to destroy their friendship without it being the nice coming-of-age summer that the two girls envisioned. Written by Anne Campbell

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Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

24 June 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bakhourot tovot  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though not at the same time, both Fanning and Olsen attended the same private high school in Studio City, Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

When Lilly comes home from the beach at the beginning of the movie, she tells her mother that she had gone to Brighton Beach. Her sister expresses surprise that she had gone all the way to Rockaway. Rockaway is nowhere near Brighton Beach. See more »

Quotes

Gerri: [about her father] He was always so quiet. Just like now.
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User Reviews

 
A display of empty characterization in a film that needed that one key ingredient
23 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.


5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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