I really enjoyed this French drama that follows three 14 year old girls, Sarah, Louise and Jade, through a year where they fall in and out of friendship, fight with parents and teachers and try to find their way.
All three girls are fascinating to watch and although they have their differences, they seem oblivious to their commonalities. A common thread for each is a broken family with parents who struggle to understand and seem unable to listen to them. Interestingly, the parents – usually mothers and stepfathers – are kept out of the frame and the camera lingers on the girls, helping draw us into their experiences in those moments, their sense of isolation.
We watch as Sarah and Jade shift from friendship to hostility, through simple moments of misunderstanding that escalate into viciousness. We can see that they both are vulnerable, trying to work out who they are as women, which in their world seems to revolve around what some guy or other thinks and says about them. The ability of both girls and boys to denigrate the girls is chilling and shocking. It is only Louise, it seems, who remains steadfast and unaffected by the opinions of others.
There is hope in this film amidst the parental angst it provoked in me. The girls who seem adrift on a sea that pulls them away and pushes them together, ultimately hang on to each other. This point is not laboured, just a coda that allowed me, at least, to breathe a sigh of relief.