Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 08/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Out of all of Mike Leigh's brilliant films, "Career Girls is probably my favorite.This is a wonderful character study and look at the friendship of two English women during two different periods in their lives.In the film we meet Hannah (actress Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (actress Lynda Steadman) former college roomates, who are having their first reunion in six years. These two are a regular pair of Mutt & Jeffs. Hannah is tall, and thin with a caustic wit that is full of spit and vinegar. In contrast Annie is petite, shy and quite mousey in pesonality.As one of the characters is quoted as saying "together they would make the perfect women".During the film we listen to their converstions as they travel about London remenicing, eating and even humorously go hunting for a flat. It is during all this, that the viewer is treated to flashbacks of how these now, smartly dressed, well coiffed, 'career gals', forged and created this important friendship in their relative youth. We are shown that back in the late eighties/early nineties they were a scruffy, punky looking pair, who went through thick and thin together.The movie shows us how in their outward appearance they might have changed drastically, but on the inside they pretty much remain the same people (if not a bit more mature and cynically seasoned in nature).Actresses, Katrin Cartlidge and Lynda Steadman are marvelous in the two lead roles of this film.Both are totally believable playing these two interesting, yet imperfect women at different ages.Mike Leigh has written and directed a lovely drama/comedy, which really touches the heart as we get to know the characters(past & present). The film also has a great soundtrack that features the '80's/90's pop music of The Cure. This is a really wonderful film that will move most movie fans!"
Reaches deep into your heart.
John Cobb | Austin, TX | 02/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw Mike Leigh's Naked, the first time, one word, genius, never left my mind. I still think it is one of the most intelligent pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen.About 180 degrees away in its subject matter, Career Girls affects me even more strongly. The idea that a couple of college girl-chums might get together after a few odd years, is nothing new. The film effectively puts their relationship under a microscope, in two drastically different times of maturation, the college years, and the 10 or so years after. Under that scrutiny each will blossom, brilliantly, through the short span of the film, much like a rose blooms in time-lapse photography. It's a helluva notion. Leigh accomplishes it all brilliantly.We have all seen buddy pictures, and Career Girls is no 48 Hours, or Lethal Weapon. It's a truly sensitive look into the human soul, the human heart portraying a friendship we only imagine.This film literally leaves me breathless."
Textured, Rich, and Poignant
D. Recio, SJ | San Francisco, CA | 09/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mike Leigh's Career Girls (1997) draws viewers out of a steady diet of inconsequential plotting and formulaic storylines. Among the more fascinating stories involve protagonists who are also antagonists to themselves and others.
Young psychology student, Annie (Lynda Steadman), seeks a place to live and answers an ad provided by Hannah (the late Katrin Cartlidge) and Claire (Kate Byers). Annie's flatmates, both reading English at the local Polytechnic school, play a divination game with an old Penguin copy of Bronte's Wuthering Heights to pass the time. Hannah, who appears to have numerous tics, possesses a rapier wit and a developed intuition while managing a stormy relationship with her alcoholic mother. Eventually, Hannah and Annie become close friends, finding between them a tighter bond as a result of shared experiences. The tough and brash Hannah protects the waif-like Annie, self-conscious as a result of a case of dermatitis, most apparent on her youthful visage.
The story, told in a series of flashbacks, pushes viewers to enjoy the narrative ride rather than piecing together what happened when. As a result, Leigh establishes his ability to tell a sophisticated and poignant story about friendship, one that lasts because their affection for one another remains when the other is no longer present. Leigh does not dwell on a sentimental storyline largely because he is intelligent enough to suggest that friendships survive as a result of a history of common joys and genuine conflicts. Annie finds herself attracted to a man, Adrian Spinks (Joe Tucker), whom Hannah is dating. Ricky (Mark Benton) suffers from unrequited love when Annie turns him down and Hannah is quick to remind her that she has no cause to decline men because of their appearance. Leigh's meditation brings us back to Aristotle's argument on friendship, that friendship between two persons exists when both are equal and care for the other's well-being. The conversation in the Chinese restaurant is particularly moving.
The DVD offers the original trailer, widescreen, and full screen format."
Muz Bronte, Muz Bronte! Another Great Film From Mike Leigh!
N. B. | 02/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With 1996's "Secret's and Lies," British director Mike Leigh had his first taste of what passed for commercial success in the United States. That amazing and powerful film (which has finally just been given its DVD debut in the US) won Leigh his usual praise from critics, but with the five Academy Award nominations it earned (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay) Leigh was able to garner a smattering attention from a public who had never heard of him or his movies before.
"Career Girls," which was Leigh's follow-up to "Secrets and Lies," may SOUND like it was an attempt to go mainstream, but it isn't. The plot is fairly simple. Two women, who were roommates and best friends in college, are reunited 6 or so years later and after an initial awkwardness eventual find the friendship they had once shared. It is a times funny (sometimes uproariously so) sometimes sad, sometimes even heavy. But it is always compelling and, ultimately very moving. Despite this decription this should not be dismissed as a mere "chick flick."
"Career Girls" did not duplicate the commercial success of "Secrets and Lies," and its timing of release meant that it has more or less fallen through the cracks in terms of getting DVD release. So, if ANYONE reading this has ANY influence on the powers that be, please do what you can to correct that. With the renewed attention Mike Leigh is getting for his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director (for 2004's "Vera Drake") now is the time!"
DVD is on the Way!!!
Avid Runner | USA | 06/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Good news Mike Leigh fans, this movie is now scheduled to be released on DVD on September 6, 2005 according to Amazon!!
The movie is an excellent one. Sometimes (unjustly) considered one of Leigh's lesser works it functions both as comedy and drama as it looks at the reunion of two friends from college several years after they have graduated and have been trying to find their niche in the world. Told in a series of flashbacks and in present time it shows how he characters have grown over time while many of their vulnerabilities remain.