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Hannah (Cartlidge) and Annie (Steadman), two college girls living in a shared apartment in London, share an assortment of experiences before going their separate ways. Six years later, they meet up when Annie returns for a weekend visit from her job in a provincial town to visit Hanna in London. The two days turn into an eventful trip along memory lane, with sorrow and pain, fun and sex tumbling in and out of their minds, conversations and experience. They discover how they and a few of their acquaintances have changed - and how bitter sweet the trip turns out to be.

"The grim suburbs of London, where lives seem always short of satisfaction or even contentment, are Leigh’s hunting grounds and in Career Girls the prey is within view but a trifle elusive. That is to say, he gets close to engulfing us again, but misses by a smidgin. Never mind any comparisons to the gut wrenching Secrets and Lies, on its own, Career Girls stands with a limp, although that is not to imply that the film is an emotional cripple. It’s just that it has a couple of weak points: one too many coincidental meetings from the past (the second one) and more importantly, the two women carry quite a bit of baggage, yet we are never given a clue as to how they have stayed in touch over the years while never before had any conversations about that period in their lives which we revisit in flashbacks. This missing linkage becomes notable only in retrospect, because throughout the film, Leigh and his cast manage the magic of gripping us with the keen subtleties of play on personal relationships that are on the boil, one way or another, on screen or off, sexual or platonic, friendship or family. Acutely observed characters in the writing are brought to life in the performances, and the laughs, chuckles and grins mingle lifelike with the pathos, sadness and pain."
Andrew L. Urban

"Sensitive, funny and poignant, Career Girls is a buddy movie, beautifully structured with satisfying performances. Inevitably this will be compared with Leigh’s successful Secrets and Lies with its huge emotional explosion; Career Girls is emotionally satisfying, but in a more subtle way. Leigh offers the same keen observation previously shown, yet in perhaps a smaller story that largely encompasses two characters. Katrin Cartlidge as Hannah creates a complete rounded character who is whacky, spontaneous, awkward, insecure, brash, fun and tragic all at once. Previously solid as the sister-in-law in Breaking the Waves, this is a role which allows her to totally develop her range, and she does so in a triumphant way. Leigh’s development of the relationship of Hannah and Annie in the early years when they shared a flat is done effectively in flashback in a nostalgic way, allowing us to understand its peculiarities. Steadman, while effective as Annie, annoyed me intensely at times with overly pronounced mannerisms. The film evolves as a vision of a talented film maker, who is adept at witty lines and a keen observer of human behaviour."
Louise Keller

"Mike Leigh remains one of the most extraordinary and insightful film makers of his generation. He has a knack, through his improvisation and the way in which he communicates with his actors, to dig deep into the human psyche and deliver as film that is complex, intimate, funny and completely well observed. Many were expecting Leigh to take a fall after his much hyped Secrets and Lies. Yet in many ways, Career Girls is a more interesting, less wayward work than Secrets. It develops the changing relationship between these two distinctive women, and by the film's conclusion, the audience should feel that they've genuinely travelled the journey they have embarked on. It's a film about friendship and the way we evolve as human beings, treated with a vivid sense of humour and a sharp observation of contemporary human behaviour. Astonishingly acted, Leigh has once again delivered a remarkable and intricate work, a film about the human condition that is a damn good yarn to boot."
Paul Fischer

"Career Girls is a finely crafted, sometimes funny and often moving film about friendship and remembrance. Whilst the London accents may emulate Leigh’s earlier film, Career Girls is a world away from its kitchen-sink feel. It is slicker; in fact at times I felt it was slightly manipulative. Leigh is much more interested in his characters than any plot incongruities. Katrin Cartlidge (Hannah) gives a brilliant central performance from Katrin Cartlidge, the annoying but vulnerable young student who becomes the confident, but emotionally empty professional; Lynda Steadman ably supports her as her collegiate friend. Leigh's script allows both the opportunity to develop real emotion in their respective roles. The male characters do not fare so well, with only one receiving any real sympathy. Its plot weaknesses may be too much for some; those (like me) who found Secrets and Lies overrated, will find plenty to like in this film, while Leigh fans will embrace it with enthusiasm."
David Edwards

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CAST: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers, Mark Benton, Andy Serkis, Joe Tucker, Margo Stanley, Michael Healy

DIRECTOR: Mike Leigh

PRODUCER: Simon Channing-Williams

SCRIPT: Mike Leigh


EDITOR:Robin Sales

MUSIC: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Tomy Remy


RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 4, 1997

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