We’ve seen the Boyhood drama film, next up is an all-girl tale of teenagers in a Parisian ghetto!
Girlhood explores how challenging life can be, if you are black and female and living in a Parisian ghetto.
A troubled teen, Marieme, played by Karidja Toure, joins a gang of girls to forget her academic failure and her abusive home life. You might expect that she will connect with a boy, but it is not to be. She is not inspired by a boy, but instead by the idea of joining an all-girl, all-black gang run with an iron fist by a sassy sister named Lady, played by Assa Sylla.
The other members of the estrogen-fueled, sepia posse are Adiatou, played by Lindsay Karamoh, and Fily, played by Marietou Toure, a couple of equally-rudderless rebels without a clue. The four fugitives from polite society proceed to fritter away their days robbing youngsters for their lunch money, flirting with boys, cat-fighting with a rival gang, and gyrating while lip-synching female empowerment anthems like Rihanna’s “Diamond in the Sky.”
Not much of productive consequence ever happens in their neck of the ‘hood, which explains why Marieme soon tires of the unfulfilling routine. Unfortunately, given her limited skill set, the only alternative she finds is selling narcotics to wealthy white kids for Abou, played by Djibril Gueye, a creepy pimp/drug dealer with a hidden agenda.
As compelling as a train wreck, Girlhood is an eye-opening drama you just can’t take your eyes off of. Such a super-realistic, slice-of-life often feels more like a documentary than a drama as you watch losers with low self-esteem do, well, the sort of things losers with low self-esteem do.
The cinematic equivalent of slumming around the City of Lights’ seamy underbelly.
Very Good (3 stars)
Unrated In French with subtitles
Running time: 113 minutes
Distributor: Strand Releasing
Watch the Girlhood trailer: