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When Suzette (Goldie Hawn) is fired from her job as barmaid at the historic Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, she heads for Phoenix intending to visit her former best friend and groupie partner. But Vinnie (Susan Sarandon) now lives a conservative life as wife to a lawyer and mother to two rebellious teenage daughters (Erika Christensen and Eva Amurri). Along the way, Suzette picks up Harry (Geoffrey Rush), a failed writer on a mission of his own. And when Suzette and Vinnie meet again, after two decades apart, Vinnie is reluctant to recall and reveal the wild days she and Suzette shared as the Banger Sisters.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Talk about getting bangs for your buck! Don’t miss a second of the opening moments of The Banger Sisters, because every second counts – and works. Goldie Hawn’s Suzette and Geoffrey Rush’s Harry are introduced to us in one of the most satisfying openings to a film, and we know the subject matter is going to provide many opportunities for cliché or crackle. Happily, it’s all crackle, as the premise is unwound. 

Hawn and Sarandon are perfectly matched as the Banger Sisters of the title – an appellation earned infamously, as you’ll discover. But the film’s strength – apart from exceptionally energetic and truthful performances – is in the writing. The script dares to go places of great sensitivity with as much brio as a mainstream production company will allow. And in this case, it’s quite a deep delve. 

There are a multitude of great moments one on top of the other, many of them so bizarre as to be taken from real life, where truth always outshines fiction on the bizarre scale. Rush makes a challenging role work by sheer force of talent and technique; Hawn is raw honesty and Sarandon is controlled fire. Spirited and inspired, The Banger Sisters is a wonderfully observed, freshly inventive human drama told as a grown up comedy with some uproarious moments and outstanding performances. 

Unnecessarily schmalzy at the end, though. But even that is forgiven, as the film shows such a big heart – it doesn’t have the heart to be anything but upbeat (sorry) at the end. 

Published October 9, 2003

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CAST: Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, Geoffrey Rush, Erika Christensen, Eva Amurri

DIRECTOR: Bob Dolman

SCRIPT: Bob Dolman

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16: 9 widescreen


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: (Rental) April 9, 2003; (Retail) October 8, 2003

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