THE BANGER SISTERS (2002)
Starring Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon, Geoffrey Rush, Erika Christensen, Robin Thomas, Eva Amurri and Matthew Carey.
Screenplay by Bob Dolman.
Directed by Bob Dolman.
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. 94 minutes. Rated R.
Goldie Hawn gives perhaps the best performance in a thirty-plus year acting career in The Banger Sisters, and that includes her early Oscar-winning role in The Fortune Cookie. In the character of Suzette, a past-50 former groupie who is still desperately holding on to her old life and her old sexuality even as she is finally learning that she is becoming obsolete, Hawn taps in on a depth of emotion and pain that makes it obvious this role has touched her deeply.
Not far behind on the acting stakes is Susan Sarandon, playing Lavinia, Suzette’s old partner-in-crime (Frank Zappa supposedly dubbed the two groupies “The Banger Sisters”) who has since become a repressed upper class housewife. Lavinia’s perfect existence becomes complicated when free-spirited Suzette blows back into her life after twenty years apart, and Lavinia is forced to confront the wild past that she has hidden for so long from her husband (Robin Thomas) and daughters (Erika Christensen and Sarandon’s real-life daughter Eva Amurri).
The funny thing is, The Banger Sisters is not that great a story. Some of the situations are needlessly sit-com fare, and a sub-plot with Hawn’s relationship with a blocked writer (Geoffrey Rush), while well-played, is frankly somewhat preposterous. But the obvious love and craft that Hawn and Sarandon (and the rest of a uniformly excellent cast) bring to the film make me willing to overlook The Banger Sisters‘ short-comings and enjoy it as what it is, a funny little slice of life with some truly excellent acting. You also have to give The Banger Sisters credit that it is the very rare film that will actually seriously look at the sexuality of two women who are over 50 without making a gross Farrelly Brothers joke of it. (9/02)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2002 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 6, 2002.