27th Jun2019

‘Support the Girls’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula, Zoe Graham, Ann LeuVoy, Elizabeth Trieu, Krista Hayes, Victor Isaac Perez, Jesse Marshall, Luis Olmeda, Shayna McHayle, Jermichael Grey | Written and Directed by Andrew Bujalski

Support-The-Girls-Poster

Support the Girls, directed by Andrew Bujalski, stars Regina Hall as Lisa. A general manager at a sports and curves themed bar. We follow Lisa as she goes through all manners of problems concerning her co-workers, personal life and societal prejudice. Joined by Haley Lu Richardson’s Maci and Shayna McHayle’s Danyelle we follow the events taking place over one single day in their chaotic lives.

The strongest element of Andrew Bujalski’s film is the sub-textual gender politics that surround the events that occur within the film. Said aspect of the feature is profoundly piquant and progressive with how it stoically develops and showcases said societal and gender oppression. However, such an element is vastly underused and underutilised to a sufficient degree, aside from one or more sequences throughout that really hit the nail on the head. The film opts out of delving any deeper than surface level depth. Missing many and all opportunities to really dive deep into the social parameters of misogyny. Made worse is that the threads are all here to do so. The film even starts with threading such but even after teeing itself up fails to commit developing any of them.

It’s staggering, considering the increasing societal oppression of our real world today, that Bujalski (who also writes the feature as well as directors) fails to really delve into Support the Girls biggest and strongest thematic thread. Instead, the decision to create a boiling pot of character study is implemented, yet, by plotting this narrative in one single day the film can’t inject near enough depth or development even with the terrific performances to create the substantial feature it’s trying desperately to craft. Don’t get me wrong the film is indeed interesting but it isn’t nearly as captivating as the material suggests.

Regina Hall has most of the limelight and the film develops her character Lisa the most substantial in terms of character depth. The film slowly but surely peels away Lisa’s layers in a relatively interesting manner. It never overly explicitly states all of Lisa’s problems. They are instead conveyed in the same manner that life brings them forward; unexpected and surprising. It offers an organic and authentic bridge for the character to connect with the audience, even if the depth is insufficient.

Haley Lu Richardson continues her ongoing trend of being a terrific actress consistently underutilised in underwhelming features. Aside from one or possibly two sequences of being the films comic relief. Richardson has quite literally nothing to do. Little involvement from the screenplay and even less of an arc. Shayna McHayle is given even less and more infuriating material because the film does have a limited arc for her character yet takes said character nowhere. Disappointing returns for a film that has such a stellar cast at its fingertips. There aren’t particularly strong or evidently clear character arcs available. Support the Girls doesn’t unearth any character or themes anywhere within its running time and you are often left depleted rather than inspired by the material at hand.

Support the Girls is released in UK cinemas tomorrow, Friday June 28th.

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One Response to “‘Support the Girls’ Review”

  • Houston King

    I think Andrew likes the audience to make some of the conclusions that you might have been looking for rather than serving them up…..but thanks for the review. PS Regina Hall – not the talented and lovely Regina King- is our star.