About a month ago, I saw and wrote a review for Portrait of a Lady on Fire. That film is so special and is now on Hulu due to the current circumstances. After I saw it, I made a pact with myself to see the three previous films that Céline Sciamma wrote and directed. I started with Tomboy from 2011, then I watched Water Lilies from 2007, and today I watched Girlhood from 2014. All four films have something fantastic to offer from the perspective of women, but Girlhood is my personal favorite.
Girlhood is a coming of age kind of story centered around Marieme, a teenager who lives in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris. Marieme struggles in school and her home life is just shitty. After her grades decline too far, she is forced to make some decisions. She joins a gang of other young girls and starts hanging out with them every day. Marieme gains the respect of her fellow gang members but is continually faced with new decisions and she doesn’t know where to turn or who to be.
Sciamma is an excellent writer but an ever better director in my opinion. All four of her films are stunning but Girlhood is the most mesmerizing. Crystel Fournier worked with Sciamma on her first three films as cinematographer and is a name I won’t forget. They create an incredible atmosphere and then Sciamma delivers this raw story in Girlhood that will floor you. Karidja Touré plays the main character Marieme to perfection. Her development is something special and I believe every move she makes. The supporting characters are really solid and you get just close enough to care about all of them. I will be revisiting all of Sciamma’s films and seeking out her short films in the future. Girlhood just stands out because of it’s tenacity and tremendous style. This is one I would recommend if you are really looking for a special film.