Girlfriends (1978) - Claudia Weill


Rating: 6.2/10 121 votes
Runtime: 87 min
Language: English
Country: USA
Color: Color


Director: Claudia Weill

Description: In "Girlfriends," first-time writer-director Claudia Weill created a compelling depiction of a woman look at a woman growing, awkwardly and not without pain, into her adult life--that is, the life of an independent woman and artist in New York City. This film also offers what is inarguably one of cinema's most honest and insightful looks at the complex bonds between women, detailing with extraordinary sensitivity (and bits of quirky humor) the shifts, both small and seismic, that occur when one of the halves of a sustaining heterosexual female friendship effectively "leaves" to get married. The cinema verite quality one finds here may be in part a reflection of the tight budget and inexperience of a novice filmmaker, but it also gives the film an utterly compelling texture, something of the raw, uneven fabric of real life. Melanie Mayron (later "Melissa" on the ABC-TV series "ThirtySomething") gives an earnest, convincing, and touching portrayal of budding photographer Susan Weinblatt, a twenty-something woman learning to find her balance, to be true to herself, navigate a welter of complicated relationships, to deal with both loneliness and intimacy, and to come into her own as an artist. The film includes wonderful turns by Eli Wallach, playing the rabbi who oversees the bar mitzvahs Susan photo, and Viveca Lindfors as a New York gallery owner.


Well-done and engrossing drama of a woman (played by Melanie Mayron) who's living with her best friend. Her best friend decides to get married and move out. It devastates Mayron and she goes on a journey of self-discovery...and trying to find a new roommate.

This was a big hit in 1978. It played the art house circuit for quite a while. I saw it when I was 16. Being a guy, I wasn't sure I would like it but I was fascinated. The characters were complex, the story absorbing and showed me what NYC was like (back in 1978). After it died down it disappeared completely. There was a showing on cable back in the early 1980s but that was it. I've asked a few friends who are film fanatics (like me) if they knew about this and none of them had even heard of it! That's too bad. This is a wonderful film for anybody--you don't have to be a woman to understand the loneliness and shock Mayron feels when her best friend leaves. Also it has some casual nudity which was surprising for a PG film. It also has Christopher Guest in an early role (and doing a nude scene--not much is shown).


"That film, I thought, was one of the very rare American films that I would compare with the serious, intelligent, sensitive writing and filmmaking that you find in the best directors in Europe." - Stanley Kubrick, 1980

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