Girls Town

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"This ain’t no 90210…"
  • R
  • 1996
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 6.3  (803)

Girls Town is a 1996 dramatic film directed by Jim McKay. The movie is a realistic portrayal of the lives of four teenage girls from different ethnic and social backgrounds living in a poor neighborhood in New Jersey. The film stars Lili Taylor, Bruklin Harris, and Anna Grace, who deliver sublime performances that add depth and humanity to their respective characters.

The film follows Patti (Lili Taylor), who is struggling to cope with the death of her mother. She has become angry, depressed and confused by the loss of her only parent, which has left her feeling isolated even from her two best friends, Angela (Bruklin Harris) and Emma (Anna Grace). The three friends felt like they were living in their dead-end existence in a small, economically depressed town, where school is a joke and being a teenage girl is a struggle to keep their heads above water.

After a traumatic event involving Angela and some boys from their school, the trio meets a new friend, intelligent African American girl, Nikki (Aunjanue Ellis). Nikki, who is stuck in a cycle of abuse, dominates the narrative for the middle section of the film. Together, the four girls form an unlikely bond that helps them navigate their complex lives in a community where sexism, racism, and poverty are intertwined.

The movie explores many themes that will resonate with modern audiences, such as feminism, female empowerment, poverty, racism, and domestic abuse. Because Jim McKay portrays the four girls with such complexity and authenticity, their various struggles feel all the more urgent and real. It's a credit to Jim McKay's directorial style, and the ensemble cast, that the movie is thoughtful, engaging and relatable.

This movie portrays urban life in a way that is so rare in the film industry. The streets and the buildings seem alive, and the lives of the characters seem to intertwine with the world around them. The texture and atmosphere of the neighborhood become a character in their own right, adding an extra layer of depth to the plot.

The performances of the young actors are faultless, and especially Lili Taylor who gives a stunning and utterly convincing performance. Taylor portrays Patti with so much depth that the audience could practically feel her pain. Bruklin Harris and Anna Grace are also superb as Angela and Emma, respectively. They convey so much emotion in their roles without being melodramatic, and they hold the movie together with their amazing performances. Aunjanue Ellis delivers a charged, lived-in portrayal of Nikki, who is the most complex character in the movie.

The dialogues in the movie, written by McKay, are rich in detail and finely tuned to the circumstances in which the characters find themselves. The conversations often feel natural, like nothing is being forced, and the characters' interactions with each other feel raw and honest.

While the movie has a hopeful ending, it does not shy away from the harsh realities that these four girls face. It’s a movie that demonstrates the bonds between women, the importance of friendship, and how sometimes all we need is the support of our friends.

Overall, Girls Town is an excellent movie, one that deserves a wider audience. It has a strong message about women empowerment, and it is a powerful reminder of the importance of female friendships. Jim McKay's excellently crafted film is an essential watch for anyone interested in realistic portrayals of women's lives.

Girls Town
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (803)