If you’re like us, you couldn’t put down Emily Gould’s Friendship, the blogger’s acclaimed novel about the complicated relationship between two young women living and working in NYC. Inspired by the protagonists of Gould’s funny, honest and emotional work, we highlight 8 movies that examine female friendship against the ultimate urban backdrop.
An Unmarried Women (1978)
Director: Paul Mazursky
Just this month, movie fans mourned the passing of Paul Mazursky, the auteur responsible for relationship movies such as Next Stop, Greenwich Village, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Perhaps his most famous film is An Unmarried Woman, which received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Actress. Jill Clayburgh stars as Erica Benton, a recently divorced woman struggling to find herself again after 16 years of marriage. Who does she turn to? Her friends, of course! Sue (Patricia Quinn), Jeannette (Linda Miller), and Elaine (Kelly Bishop) meet regularly with Erica to commiserate, counsel and console each other on the vagaries of work, love and family life in the Big Apple.
Times Square (1980)
Director: Allan Moyle
This cult classic stars Trini Alvarado and Robin Johnson as Pamela Pearl and Nicky Marotta, two girls who meet by chance when they are undergoing treatment for “presumed” mental illness. The girls bust out of the hospital and escape into the labyrinth of Times Square, taking odd jobs and committing petty crimes. True rebels, the girls form a punk band called The Sleez Sisters and pledge their undying loyalty to each other. However, when Nick begins to spin out of control, Pamela must protect herself as she is forced to think about both their futures.
Director: Garry Marshall
From the boardwalk of Atlantic City to Manhattan, Beaches follows the friendship between aspiring singer CC Bloom (Bette Milder) and socialite Hillary Whitney Essex (Barbara Hershey) over the span of a few decades (sob!). Pen pals throughout childhood, the two reunite in NYC to follow their separate dreams and become who they are meant to be. Over the course of two hours, the audience is treated to a fully realized portrayal of female friendship encompassing trust, honesty, laughter, jealously, love and, of course, song! We dare you not to cry at the end.
Working Girl (1988)
Director: Mike Nichols
If you believe this romantic comedy classic is about plucky secretary Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) who seizes the opportunity to get ahead in the world (and unexpectedly land the man of her dreams), you’d be wrong. Joan Cusack steals the show (garnering an Oscar nomination) for her role as Tess’s supportive best friend from Staten Island, Cyn. As Tess works to secure her future in the Big Apple, Cyn is with her every step of the way and providing invaluable advice and support as her friend’s complex life begins to unravel. When Tess gets her big promotion and Harrison Ford at the end of the film, no one is happier for her than Cyn, and that’s beautiful.
Walking And Talking (1996)
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Nicole Holofcener’s debut feature stars Catherine Keener and Anne Heche as Amelia and Laura, two best friends who find themselves drifting apart. As Amelia explores the city’s treacherous dating scene and worries about the direction of her life, Laura deals with her demanding career and her fears about her impending marriage. The script was also written by Holofcener, who makes Amelia and Laura’s conversations and arguments feel incredibly authentic and relatable.
The First Wives Club (1996)
Director: Hugh Wilson
Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn star as a group of old college friends (now Manhattanites) who have one major thing in common: their husbands are divorcing them to be with younger women. Hilarious, smart and surprisingly poignant, the film follows the trio as they plot to get revenge on their exes. As they lean on each other for strength and find their own voices, the women get even in ways they don’t even expect against the beautiful backdrop of NYC.
Tiny Furniture (2010)
Director: Lena Dunham
Before HBO’s Girls, Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in Tiny Furniture. The film follows Aura, a neurotic recent college graduate, as she moves back into her parents’ loft in NYC. In the process of finding herself, Aura neglects her steady friend Frankie (Merritt Wever) when she is drawn to the exciting, unpredictable Charlotte (Jemima Kirke). Dunham has a penchant for depicting realistic dilemmas and triumphs among female twentysomethings. You’ll no doubt relive conversations you’ve had with your own girlfriends throughout the film.
Lola Versus (2012)
Director: Daryl Wein
Yes, we could have put Frances Ha on the list, but that would have been all too predictable. Instead, we suggest you check out Lola Versus, co-written by underrated scribe Zoe Lister-Jones (who also stars in the film). Greta Gerwig plays Lola, a graduate student who gets dumped by her artist fiancé (and she doesn’t even get to keep the apartment!). During her depression, she relies on Alice (Lister-Jones), her unlucky in love friend, for sympathy and support. Lola wreaks unintended emotional havoc on her friends and family, but the two women find their way back to each other, proving that friendship is the strongest bond of all.