Very Good Girls misses some big marks. A limp screenplay fails to enlighten in any new ways about what growing up truly means.
Foner not only squanders the abilities of dramatic talent that have been exhibited by both Olsen and Fanning in past projects, but the girls seem to only skim the surface of commitment to character. A fantastic supporting cast (Richard Dreyfuss, Demi Moore, Clark Gregg, Ellen Barkin and Peter Saarsgaard) all show up to apparently add dramatic credibility instead of capability or competency. They are all present as perfunctory tropes: aging hippies, conservatives with marital problems and a leering boss. But who are they exactly? Why should we care about them if they have no character development?
Apart from merely weak characters, the film falls into so many lazy habits and bland imagery: a romantic montage of Lily and David putting up art across the city; Lily staring longingly at her body in a mirror; hazy sun-dappled cinematography; and, most insultingly, using the death of a parent as a catalyst for sex. In one particularly cringe-inducing moment, David brings Lily back to his flat and she wanders around and explores while he watches her, telling her about how he wants to "see the world" (yes, Paris included). He asks her to read a few lines of poetry by Sylvia Plath and, as she does it, he instantly grabs her and kisses her. It's a poorly executed quotation of something we have seen in the romances of yore. For all the secret kisses and waxing poetic on young love, Very Good Girls comes up shorthanded in producing a story worth caring about.
Allie Gemmill | @alliegem