Michelle Williams, Anna Friel
Nat: How many times a day do you speak? She’s so controlling…she wants you to get involved with that…what’s his name? That hopeless t*** so that you’ll always need her! And you let her!
Holly: Blimey! You could charge by the 50 minute hour! You know it all suddenly!
Holly (Williams) and Marina (Friel) have been best friends all their lives. Marina was always considered the prettier one – even by Holly’s mother – while Holly was the quieter, bookish one. They stick together through many ups and downs, but there’s a gradual tension building over the years that threatens to drive them apart.
I’ve been a fan of both Michelle Williams and Anna Friel for a while now, and both are likable and watchable in this movie (even if Williams’ British accent wavers a bit here and there), though I think they’re somewhat limited by a script that doesn’t take their characters to as many interesting places as it could. There are some good moments, no doubt, but the arguments and the various men that go in and out of their lives get repetitive after a while.
If I remember correctly, the movie begins in 1973, with the two girls as preteens, then it jumps to 1978, 1982, 1989, and finally 2001. Holly has been in love with Marina’s brother, Nat (Oliver Milburn) from the beginning, and he weaves in and out of her life over the years, but the two can never seem to find each other at a time when both are available. Their story was nice, but some of the other plot lines, like Kyle MacLachlan as a professor that both girls get involved with unbeknownst to each other, don’t work as well.
The main idea here is that Holly has always felt like she was living in the shadow of Marina. As they get older, Holly wants to break free of the oppression of their friendship, but Marina fears facing life without having her best friend around.
Overall, it’s a well acted, well made, meandering movie with occasional touching and interesting moments, but it gets bogged down from time to time with too many repetitive family and relationship problems. After the 4th or 5th time that Marina and Nat’s jerk father has entered back into their lives, it stops being a compelling story line and starts to just grate on your nerves.
It’s not easy to make a 21 year old actress look convincingly like a 15 year old and a 40 year old in the same movie.
10 – 3.6 for getting bogged down with repetitive story lines – .1 for that wavering Williams accent + .2 for the 2 leads’ performances = 6.5