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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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GIRLS' NIGHT

SYNOPSIS:
Dawn (Brenda Blethyn) and Jackie (Julie Walters) are best friends and sisters in law in working class England, making do on an electronic goods conveyor belt job, always hoping for a miracle win at the bingo on Friday nights. Jackie’s marriage is on the rocks, too, and then things get infinitely worse with the news that Dawn has a serious illness. So it is that come a lucky a Friday night, Dawn wins the national pool at the bingo table, while Jackie is filandering with the club owner in his office. But they’ve always shared their winnings, and they’ll share this one too, no matter how big. Dawn decides to use her share to buy the two of them a dream holiday (more Dawn’s dream, really) in Las Vegas, where they make the acquintence of cowboy Cody (Kris Kristofferson). It is a glorious and romantic holiday, spoiled only by Dawn’s hair falling out….

"We’ve been here before, of course, laughing and crying all the way to the graveside. But there is no denying the sheer energy and likeability of the leads’ characterisations, as well as the steady as she goes but well structured direction of Nick Hurran. The utter charmless working class Englishness of the settings are relieved by the Las Vegas sequences, otherwise it might all be a bit too insular. And even though the opening shot is a bit of a cliché, most of the photography is enjoyably varied. Written with material from personal experiences (with perhaps a tad too much reservation as a result), Girls’ Night is entertaining enough and enjoyable for all the performances, including the supports, notably Kristofferson as the cool cowboy who seems so exotic to the girls. Girls’ Night is a happy blend of buddy movie (middle aged women buddies), an exotic adventure, and a British sitcom full of character."
Andrew L. Urban

"Films dealing with poverty, working-class Brits and breast cancer, all conjure up images of maudlin pessimism, a film that has all the entertainment value of a funeral dirge. In the hands of a less subtle Hollywood, Girls' Night may well indeed have turned into mush. Instead, under the intelligent direction of Nick Curran, this beautifully eloquent piece is a touching, funny and sensitive work, minus undue bouts of sentiment. Curran's strength here, is his ability to fully develop his two characters from the outset, allowing the audience to follow their journey and their warts-and-all characteristics. It's a story not so much about death, but about life, and searching for your own sense of self-discovery. The viewer is able to empathise with these women, without being hit over the head with a false range of emotional half-truths. Instead, what we are left with, is an honest look at these two intricate characters. One could not think of better actors to play these women than Walters and Blethyn, firing at each other, and delivering work that is subtle, poignant and richly observed. Walters in particular shines meticulously with a layered, complex performance. In such small films, Kris Kristofferson also shines, getting more interesting as he becomes older. Girls Night is a film that could have been driven into the pits of schmaltz, but this is not what this movie represents at all. It's a beautifully detailed, human and passionate work, full of wonderful characters played by two indomitable actresses. It's a superb work not to be missed."
Paul Fischer

"Girls’ Night has a lot going for it. It’s generally well made, features some fine actors, has a heart-rending storyline and it’s mostly sensitively handled. But for all this, I couldn’t help feeling this film lacked that "spark", that certain something which makes a film memorable. Perhaps it’s because the principals behind the project, writer Kay Mellor and director Nick Hurran both have a long list of television credits, but few feature film credits. Indeed, the film occupies the awkward middle ground between television and film. The script occasionally veers into soap opera territory; but then other scenes reveal genuine depth. The film’s impact isn’t helped by the cinematography, which is far more suited to TV than the big screen. Brenda Blethyn returns to kitchen-sink drama in a role which must have been very comfortable for her after Secrets and Lies. Julie Walters similarly slots in easily as Jackie, and she handles the part with assurance. The film concentrates on the relationship between the women (as it should), so the male characters, including Kris Kristofferson, have little to do. The best of them is George Costigan as Steve, Dawn’s faithful and earnest, but rather dull, husband. Girls’ Night is like Steve in many ways - one of those films that tries hard, but for all its effort, ends up being solid rather than brilliant."
David Edwards



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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TRAILER

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FEATURE

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

GIRLS’ NIGHT (M 15+)
(UK)

CAST: Brenda Blethyn, Julie Walters, Kris Kristofferson, James Gaddas, George Costigan, Philip Jackson

PRODUCERS: Bill Boyes

DIRECTOR: Nich Hurran

SCRIPT: Kay Mellor

CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Odd

EDITOR: John Richards

MUSIC: Ed Shearmur

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Taff Baley

RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 11, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: August 4, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista







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