Shuchi Talati’s “Girls Will Be Girls” is a gorgeous labyrinth of womanhood and mother-daughter relationships that should not be missed.
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“Girls Will Be Girls” Plot Summary
Shuchi Talati’s “Girls Will Be Girls” is a gorgeous labyrinth of womanhood and mother-daughter relationships that should not be missed. Writer and director Talati demonstrates that a dramatic and deeply soulful coming-of-age story does not need to follow the standard teen tropes to make an audience feel something. Talati’s cast and crew create their own path with “Girls Will Be Girls,” a riveting and original story that should be essential viewing for teens.
Set in the Himalayas, “Girls Will Be Girls” shows the life of Mira (Preeti Panigrahi), a smart and obedient student who’s given a lot of responsibility in her strict boarding school. She’s told by teachers that she needs to succeed; she’s told by her family that academics are what’s most important; and she often has to be the role model for other students. But when new student Sri (Kesav Binoy Kiron) shows a romantic interest in Mira, her priorities and upbringing all begin to clash with her sexual awakening.
Mira is compelled to keep her romance a secret, but her mother, Anila (Kani Kusruti), immediately suspects that her daughter is talking to someone. While Anila is initially accepting of her daughter’s first relationship, she begins to show a new flirtatious and chatty side to herself when meeting Sri. As Sri’s presence in Mira’s life grows, the relationship between Mira and Anila becomes tense, and her academics are threatened. Mira may be exploring her own agency, but it’s coming at the cost of the people and institutions she once trusted most.
“Girl Will Be Girls” is sensual, curious, and deeply empathetic in every frame. Talati films key moments in Mira’s life with a dreamy aesthetic without taking away the grounded atmosphere. The soulful acting is charged with unsaid feelings in a way rarely seen in coming-of-age films. By the end, you’ll feel thankful and want to huddle and lean on Mira and Anila’s shoulders too, because you took this journey together.
“Girls Will Be Girls” is currently not rated, but includes mild profanity and some implied sexual scenes
“Girls Will Be Girls” General Information
|January 25, 2024
|How To Watch
|Film Festival – Sundance Film Festival
|1 Hour, 58 Minutes
|Noted Characters and Cast
|Kesav Binoy Kiron
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
Mira (Preeti Panigrahi)
Mira is a student who excels in all facets of her life. But upon mounting pressure from her family and the school staff, Mira is often forced to put her own wants and desires aside for others. When she begins wanting to spend time with Sri, she starts to see her school and mother in a different light.
Sri (Kesav Binoy Kiron)
Sri is the new kid at school. He’s an outsider to his classmates and struggles in academics, but he’s mature for his age and develops a romantic interest in Mira. While Mira likes Sri, she can sometimes be troubled with his sexual maturity and his charm with women.
Anila (Kani Kusruti)
Anila is Mira’s mom and is more involved in Mira’s life. Anila is accepting of Mira’s budding romance, but due to Anila’s own loss of teen experiences, she can get uncomfortably close to her daughter’s boyfriend.
“Girls Will Be Girls” Review
Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Notable Performances or Moments
Preeti Panigrahi as Mira in a Whirlpool of Bubbling Feelings
Most of “Girls Will Be Girls” depends on close-ups of Mira and her silent epiphanies. Her feelings and realizations aren’t loud, so a lot has to be expressed within a tightened jaw or an eyelid flicker. Preeti Panigrahi conveys Mira’s longing, disappointment, suffocation, confusion, jealousy, admiration, and much more with a quiet look on her face. Panigrahi’s acting is subtle yet always nuanced and engaging.
A Camera That Captures the Beauty of Awkward Discovery
Teen horniness is usually depicted as something awkward, funny, and shameful. While it can be all those things, “Girls Will Be Girls” also captures the beauty in these awkward moments. The scenes could be out of focus, filmed from afar, honoring the hazy memory of one’s youth or respecting the privacy of its characters. They don’t rely on music, a series of montages, or quick cuts. Talati allows the viewers to sit with these characters and understand that these moments are a natural part of growing up.
An Authentic and Empathetic Exploration of a Mom and Daughter
Like many family relationships, Mila and Anila’s relationship can be equally sweet and troubling. While we view the world through Mila’s eyes, Talati and actor Kani Kusruti do not let us forget Anila’s own story and agency. Both women are fighting against societal expectations, and while they may clash because of it, “Girls Will Be Girls” never makes women the enemy and respects each character’s intelligence and actions.
Good If You Like
- Complicated daughter-mother stories, coming-of-age stories, and Indian representation.
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