LIFE PARTNERS (2014)
Starring Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, Gabourey Sidibe, Anne O’Shea, Simone Bailly, Mark Feuerstein, Abby Elliott, Kate McKinnon, Beth Dover, Greer Grammer, Elizabeth Ho, Jaime Reichner, Julie White, Matthew Cardarople, Anne O’Shea, Monte Markham and the voice of Mary Page Keller.
Screenplay by Susanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz.
Directed by Susanna Fogel.
Distributed by Magnolia Pictures. 93 minutes. Not Rated.
Life Partners is not a film about LGBT lifestyles per se, even though one of the life partners of the title is an out-and-proud lesbian woman and there is great love between the two female leads. No, Life Partners takes the potentially even trickier – certainly more rare – approach of making a film that takes a serious look at the joys and hazards of female friendship.
It’s actually kind of funny with all the supposed “bromance” comedies out there like I Love You Man and 21 Jump Street that very few people have really tried to make an accurate chronicle of female best friends. Bridesmaids certainly touched on this, but the central friendship mostly serviced larger plot devices of the wedding, the romance and the gross-out humor.
However, Life Partners, despite its LGBT-tweaking title, is actually the story about how two life-long best friends deal with changes and strife in their lives and their relationship.
Paige (Gillian Jacobs of Community) and Sasha (Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl) are long-time best friends, both in their late 20s. Paige is a struggling environmental lawyer, trying hard to work her way up the ranks. Sasha is a musician officially, though she has long ago lost passion for her art, settling into a low-level, low-tension gig as a secretary.
Sasha is the lesbian, though her relationship with Paige is completely platonic (other than Sasha’s slight compulsion to show her friend her boobs.). Sasha knows and respects that Paige is completely straight, and they have found a comfortable and mutual intimacy as friends.
They have been together through years of bad relationships, bad jobs, bad reality TV shows, bad food and many drunken late night conversations. In lives full of disappointments, they are the one constant in each other, the one thing the other can unquestionably depend on.
However, their lives are going in different directions. Sasha loses her dead-end job right as Paige’s career is really taking off. Then, when she least expects it, Tim, the latest of Paige’s dead-end dates (Adam Brody, star of The OC and Meester’s real-life husband) turns out to be Mr. Right.
Suddenly, the time Paige used to spend with Sasha is going to Tim. And, like most newly-happy-in-love friends, Paige keeps trying to fix Sasha up, trying to find her the right woman. Sasha is not interested in finding a love match, and as she is unemployed she is even more conscious of the absence of Paige in her life.
She tries to make it up by hanging out in bars with her lesbian friends, but the more she does that, the more her life seems to be spinning out of control. Both Sasha and Paige are upset about Sasha’s wildness (though in different ways), and the strain on their friendship starts to do damage to Paige’s relationship.
It’s an interesting storyline, but nothing revolutionary. However, the terrific performances by the three leads, the smart and funny dialogue and the canny direction make Life Partners even more than the sum of its parts. It’s a small, sweet film that has real heart and pathos and a very pleasant surprise..
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 5, 2014.